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S I'll; IT ol' KANSAS' 


of the 

137th U. S. Infantry 

Comj)i]ed by 


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Crane & Company 

Copyright by 

Carl E. Hatekius 


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Chnplev Pf,g(, 

I. Colonel Perry M. Holsington 1 

II. Organization of I37tii Infantry 10 

III. Life at Camp Doniphan 21 

IV. The 137th Infantry Band 43 

V. Off f()I{ Tranche ()-) 

VI. Over There 74 

VIT. In Alsace 84 

VIII. The St. Mihiel Drive 108 

IX. The Argonne Battle 132 

X. The Relief 167 

XI. In the Trenches Near Verdun 174 

XII. La Guerre Fini 180 

XIII. Battle of Sampigny 18() 

XIV. Homeward Bound 196 

XV. World Citizens 215 

Appendix — 

Our Roster 229 

Citations 233 

Offiroi's Commnndino' Dui-ino- Ar<>,()nii(' Battle 252 


It is with a certain sense of relief, a certain hope toward 
the future, and a sincere trust, that we now p;ather up the 
few remaining- })its o' paper, hxy aside the much used manu- 
script, phu*e upon the sheh" remaining documents, and close 
our desk with a well spent sigh. 

You have at hand a ''reminiscence" of days that were, a 
memoir of some of the many things we heard, saw, and felt. 
You who were comrades in the cause will no doubt know, 
feel, understand, and the followed pathway will appear 
clear and well beaten. You require but a "caption" of 
each chapter, and the stor}' reaches home. You see things 
as they actually were, and you know the results obtained. 
When we mention "Life at (.'amp Doniphan," "In Alsace," 
"The Argonne Battle," you discover that your mind is fast 
at work, recalling scores of episodes, incidents and (experi- 
ences which, during those stated times, transpired. How- 
ever, with all this, still there must needs be many little in- 
cidents, many little happenings of which 3^ou were unaware, 
and which, if added to your present store of "i-eminiscences," 
that which you personally have in mind, can and will pi-ove 
a story worth keeping. 

To you who did your l^it at home, the story herein con- 
tained should prove pertinent and not a little interesting. 
You have before you a record, a diary of events, portraying 
to you the expei'iences which were boi*ne by one or moi'e of 
tliose you held nenr and deni\ and for whom youi' every 
ihoiiglil Mild priiyei- was offered (hiring i\\o dark days of (lie 
gi'eat wai* while they weie facing the gray-clad horde of tlie 
eneni}' upon the far distant l)attlefields of Franc(\ One or 

viii I ninuUidory 

more, perhaps, of those you loved and followed with such 
anxious hearts have never returned. Your threshold no 
doubt appears empty and forsaken. Those of us who, as it 
seemed, were ordained by a mig;htier Hand to make the 
supreme sacrifice, now lie sleeping; l)eneath the verdure of 
the lilies of France. They were our comrades, and we hold 
their memory sacred. 

Bear in mind, if you will, that inasmuch as we were over 
there doing our little bit, yes, meeting the daily trials, ex- 
periencing the many little joys, but more often the many 
little sorrows which would time and again creep into our 
hearts, we did so with a consolation and a trust that our 
loved ones at home were bearing with us, following us in 
spirit at least, giving us their hopes and trust and not a few 
prayers, and inasmuch as we were serving the cause, you at 
home were likewise serving as comrades of us all. This war- 
ridden world found you doing your duty in noble vein, which 
was known and felt by those of us who were many miles 
away. It is a fact worthy of consideration, namely, that 
the late war was not won upon the battlefield merely ; it 
was won due to the coml)ined strength of the forces at home 
and abroad. Had it not been for the loyal and unselfish 
support of the so-called ''home forces" the sum total of 
events might now appear in a different light. As much as 
we needed arms and ammunition, we doubly needed and 
craved the support, the spirit and interest of those we left 
behind. History has repeatedly called attention to the fact 
that battles have not been won by arms alone. Often a far 
inferior force has overcome the contending enemy due to the 
spirit and undying love the former have borne for the ideal, 
country or home for which they fought. In this late war a 
.similar fact was brought to light. Regardless of the num- 
l)er of the oncoming hordes of the enemy, regardless of the 
many and almost unsurmountable obstacles to overcome, 

I nlroduvlonj ix 

regardless of the well planted ai'tilk^y and machine gun 
nests of the enemy, the flower of America, far from wilting 
and perishing by the wayside, bore ever onward, driving the 
oppressors back from whence they had come some four years 
pi'evious. In honor and courtesy to the many fathers, 
mothers, sisters, wives and sweethearts wlio so nol)ly boi-e 
with us, we do acclaim token of gratitude, and want tliem to 
feel that we cherish the memory of their deeds. 

In compiling this volume, it has been our endeavor to 
place befoi'c the reader not alone an authentic history, not 
al()n(> bare military facts and figui'cs, but a work free in 
mann(M-, simple in reading, using the pei'sonal as well as the 
general to mak(^ it a "story" throughout. Many of the 
notes and much data has been fui'nished by a personal 
''diary" which the writer kept for eighteen months. Aside 
from this, much impoitant material, personal anecdotes and 
happenings hav(^ been furnished by vai'ious individuals 
within the regiment. For the successful launching of this 
book, I am personally indebted to several individuals. First 
and foremost among these, I mention with all due honor 
and appreciation my dear sister. Miss Ruth E., for the won- 
derful support, the unselfish co-operation she has given me ; 
to Brigadier-General Charles I. Martin for placing numerous 
records at my disposal ; to Major and Mrs. Fred E. Ellis, 
of McPherson, Kansas, who have contributed much time 
and work, assisting me in getting in touch with many of my 
former comrades ; to Musician Harley Lichtenberger, Wich- 
ita, Kansas, for the etchings, cover design and frontispiece. 

To the officers and men of the old 137th, I desire to say, 
you have in your hands what might be designated a "souve- 
nii' d(^ la GucM-re," a memoir of days gone by when you wc^c 
tlu^ "fighting disciples" in the greatest army ever assembled 
upon a l)attlefield and representatives "Extra-Ordinair" of 
the greatest State in the Union. As the years pass, you are to 

X I ntroduciory 

take just pride in pointing to your achievements. The 
names of Cheppy, Varennes, Montrebeau Wood, Baulny 
and Exermont will ever remain ''reached objectives" in your 
thought-barrage, and with equal pride you are to recall how 
for twelve months you underwent all the rigors of foreign 
campaigning, and many times even outwalked the famous 
old army mule in your endeavor to reach a certain ''Chambre 
de Couche" before the daylight broke to dawn. And they 
said you couldn't do it, Init you did. A short time ago we 
were comrades in arms fighting for the same cause. A few 
weeks later we were honorabh' discharged and were soon 
back in ''civvies" again. Our duty has not ended with th(^ 
uniform. It has barety begun. At one time we fought in 
oi'der to make this old world "safe for democracy" ; now it 
is up to us to see that it is kept such. In order to call at- 
tention to some of the existing evils we have with us and what 
we are to do to combat these, I take the liberty of quoting 
excerpts from an oration which was given by the writer at a 
collegiate oratorical contest held at Bethany College, Linds- 
l)org, Kansas, Januaiy, 1917, previous to oui' answering the 
call to service : 


"If the experiment of government hy the people is to be 
successful, you as a good citizen must make it so. We came 
from hardy ancestors, who b}^ their loyalty and undaunted 
courage have weathered many a storm and upheaval. Leav- 
ing their fatherland under whose severe and unjust laws they 
had so long been oppressed, they came to America in ordei- 
that they might live a life of freedom and nourish those 
"Thoble ideals for whicli they stood. Theii- ambitions were to 
li:i\ve a govermnent oj (he people, by the people, and for the 
pefple. Th(\y believed in freedom of religion, and wanted 
" m to worship his God according to his own humble and 
Tmcere beliefs. When this nation was ]:)Oi'n, we hoped to see 

J I'll Oil iifloni xi 

the days of iiioiiMrchy fust drawing to a close. The world 
has not as yet been purged of such. We are to realize that 
today we stand at the dawn of a new era which demands 
more than ever the virtues and strength which we have in- 
herited, and we must, therefore, uphold unflinchingly th(^ 
ideals and traditions of our pioneer for(>fathers who laid the 
corner-stone of the great democracy. 

"This nation, a melting pot of races and creeds, claims 
people of every type. We have some who, true to the stand- 
ard of patriotic, noble-hearted ancestry, carry their colors 
well. We have the other type who, though they appreciate 
the bounties and privileges this great land lias to offei', are 
reluctant to acclimate themselves to our sacred ideals and 
traditions. Again, we have the man who was born and raised 
beneath our flag, arriving at a mature age and being eligible 
by the laws of the land to take a part in handling the reins 
' of government, who neglects to uphold the position allot tcnl 
him, remaining, as it were, in a state of contentment re- 
garding his own endeavors. As a true American, it is his 
duty to make i-eady for his coronation ns a full fl(>dge(l citi- 
zen of the land ; it is his duty to leai-n those maxims of gov- 
ermncnt, those lavvs of human nature^ without which all ad- 
ministrations nuist fail. Jgnonince and indilTerenc(> nre 
cancers to all governments who i)()ssess a democratic color- 
ing. With full rc^alization of all this, he goes through life 
enjoying all the rights of an American citizen without even 
a slight acknowledgment in return. He is one of those char- 
acters so busy seeking the almighty dollar that he consid(M-s 
all else of minor importance. When conditions sometim(\s 
arise which he dislikes, he gives vent in loud tones of crili- 
cism. There ai'c times, it ap]:)eaj's, when this type is ef- 
ficient enough to 'behold \]w moat in his bi'olher's vyv, bul 
fails to detect the beam in his own (\\-e.' He is tlu^ 'inter- 
ested in self variety of citizen, choosing all personal interests 
first, last and all the time. A man who thus works for pei'- 
sonal gain and s(^lf-glorificat ion is not fit to exist b(MH\'ith 
oui" flag under whose kindly care and protection li" li\-('s. 
He is the modern pai'asite. 


1 ulrududorij 

"Then again, we have statistics to the effect that over 
thirty per cent of the voters of this land are hving in ig- 
norance regarding the laws and pohtical theories which are 
so vitally before the American public today. Only once in 
every four years, it seems, does this type summon sufficient 
initiative to come forth from concealment in order to cast 
his ballot for whatever candidate his chance opinion might 
decide upon. Then again, by living in ignorance, this man 
is often under the influence of dominant factors higher up, 
who, having a working knowledge of government, use their 
more ignorant brother as a tool, inducing him through vari- 
ous means, usually by the lure of the almighty dollar, to 
subject his vote to their ideas. A man taking advantage of 
ignorance to further his own interests, becomes a most dan-, 
gerous character to the government under which he lives, 
and may without the slightest hesitation be called a criminal 
of the first class. 

"Man has said, 'I am tired of kings; I suffer them no 
more ' ; and when the kings had slipped from their tottering 
thrones, the scepter fell into the hands of the common man. 
It fell into your hands, 3^ou of the passing generation, and 
from yoiu's it will pass into om"s. If we are to hold the 
scepter, we must be wiser and stronger than the kings, else 
we too shall lose the scepter as they have lost it and our 
influence shall forever pass away. We find the dead which 
the dead past cannot bury are thrown up on our shores. We 
find that misery, weakness and crime are still with us, and 
that wherever weakness is, there is tyranny also. The es- 
sence of tyranny lies not in the strength of the strong, but 
in the weakness of the weak. We find that in America 
today there are thousands who are not free, thousands who 
can never be free imder any government or any law so 
long as they remain what they are. The remedy for all 
this, then, is to train better and stronger men ; men who will 
not be oppressed ; men who are willing to step in, shoulder 
burdens, accept res))()iisibiliti(>s, contribute co-opei'ation and 
iniilual uiiderstnnding lo all llic^r I'ellowmen. This is the 
I'cmedy our fatluM's sought; we shall find no other. The 

I nh'odurlonj xiii 

problem of Americaiiisin is not to make comfort alone, or 
life easier, but to make men stronger, so that no problem of 
government shall be beyond their solution. It is a sad fact, 
are we to know, that life is always to be made easy for ig- 
norance, indolence and apathy ; for must it remain such, man's 
work will always remain the work of a slave and his ver}^ 
life a waste of so much oxygen. 

''An important problem confronting our government today 
is the immigrant question. A large per cent of our people 
were inunigrants, and with due appreciation of the fact, it 
must be said that some of our greatest men have come from 
this class, notably the old school in Revolutionary days — 
those who came here to make homes, create a government, 
build churches, etc. But again, among some of the late 
immigrants, there have been those who have found it dif- 
ficult to break away from the ancient traditions of their 
fatherland. Americanism does not imply that they are or 
must agree in all respects with the policies of this govern- 
ment, but it does imply that their supreme allegiance shall 
be given ungrudgingly to the land of their adoption. What 
is more detestable than to have a foreigner come over to 
this fair land of ours and to live here without giving alle- 
giance to our laws — one who sneers at our institutions and 
tramples in the dust all just legislation. He is a man with- 
out principle, and undesirable to civilized humanity. If a 
citizen of this country or a foreigner wishes to become 
Americanized, he must awaken to the fact that it is his duty to 
help make the land of his biilh or adoption the acme ol gov- 
ermnental perfection for all people living within its borders, 
and to take just interest as an intelligent, law-abiding citizen. 

''We do not want Americanism on a fifty-fifty basis. We 
want men worthy to be called Americans, not for the name's 
sake, but for the principles involved. In order that the im- 
migrant might bc^come Americanized, to learn to know and 
appreciate^ oui- laws and to prove of some use as a citizen of 
this land, il is absolutely necessary that he a('(|iiire a work- 
ing knowledge of \\\v l^Jiglish language, for the j)sy('hologi('al 
fact remains that the vernacular possesses the (|uality of 

XIV I n() odurUn 1/ 

being llie be^t conveyor of the true spirit and ideals of a 
country (a fact brought to reahzation while we were over in 
France). We have a system of eckication today whose pur- 
pose is not to train gentlemen and professional men. It is 
to give wisdom and fitness to the common man and cause 
him to acquire a greater perspective, for then he will be able 
to attain whatever heights his heart desires. The great re- 
forms in this system have all l)een toward the removal of 
barriers. They have opened up new lines of growth to the 
common man. He need no longer live in ignorance and op- 
pression, but enjoys the freedom to better his condition if 
he will. 

"What then, constitutes the measurements of an ideal 
' one hundred per cent American'? The essence of so-called 
manhood lies in the power of choice. In the varied relations 
of life, the power to choose means the duty of choosing 
right. It is no problem to choose whatsoever comes to 
mind without giving due thought and consideration. To 
choose the right, he must have the wit to know it and the 
will to demand it. The true American is a man of certain 
intelligence and high ideals, and he realizes his position both 
within the state and the nation, and strives to be of some 
use to the countr^^ which gives him his freedom and happi- 
ness. He places not, 'safety first' but 'duty first,' as he places 
duty and loyalty to his country above everything else, and 
when turbulent times come, hearkens to the cry of the land, 
calling for efficient and faithful servants. Whether it means 
the uniform or civilian attire, he performs those prescribed 
duties as a sacred obligation. The true American is a man 
of aggressiveness, not in the sense of a petty boaster, but a 
man of truthful convictions, ambitious to uphold those 
principles to the last. Might we not say that the value of 
Americanism in this man is measured by his aim as well as 
by his achievements, as loftiness of aim is essential to lofti- 
ness of spirit. He refuses to be fettered to any political or- 
ganization or particulai- 'ch(iue' which can take away any 
part of his freedom, foi- he reahzes that the questions which 
divide the great political parties of a free country are not 

I nlroduclor!/ xv 

as a rule questions of uiornls or ^ood citizenship, hut arc 
hascd for the most part on hereditary tendencies, on present 
expethencies and hop(\s of temporary phmder, if so it might 
l)e des(')'i])ed. We are to cut loose from the old sl()<2;an of 
casting hallot for party men. As conscientious, sincere citi- 
zens of this land, we have the best interests of people and 
country at heart, and therefore must needs cast our 'ayes' 
foi- the individual, not for mere party sentiment. In plain 
words, ' It's the like o' the man ' we desire. When this man's 
pai't}' is led by inefficient men, or when its course is headed 
in the wrong direction, he realizes it and will never let it be 
said of him, 'He lives in the sixth ward, therefore he believes 
in prohibition ; he lives in the ninth ward, therefore he be- 
lieves and votes for free whiskey.' No; the true American 
is a citizen of the nation, not of the sixth ward, not of Iron 
('ounty or Whitney County, although they have their place. 
True Americanism in this man is not a matter of waving 
flags or giving Fourth of July orations merely ; it lies not in 
denouncing sistei" nations and their policies ; it consists in 
first knowing what is true about his own country, and then 
in the willingness to sink his personal interest in the welfare^ 
of the whole. 

"When this government was first formed and the Declara- 
tion of Independence was drawn up, we find that the in- 
dividuals behind the task were men of true American quali- 
ti(\s, men who sought to win a continent from nature and to 
subdue it to the use of man. The gradual process of growth 
and development from that time on was as spontaneous, as 
inevitable, as the growth of a child to manhood. We do 
love and reverence him who was born in a lowh^ cabin in 
the wilds of Kentucky. Reared in a humble home, educated 
in the school of adversity, disciplined by the hardships of 
the forest, trained by observation and self-correction, Lin- 
coln became a man of undaunted courage and perseverance, 
competent for the greatest task — he who with a clear eye 
looked through the turbulent future, and in the fullness of 
time with a steady hand steered the 'ship of stat(^' through 

\vi f iilrofi Hcloi'!/ 

the angry wiitej-s of civil strife to the harbor beyond. Rightly, 
do men call him 'The Great American.' 

"Our duties are a thousand fold, and we nuist j^lace our- 
selves in a position to meet them. As American citizens, 
we must pi'eserve the patriotic and seU"-sacrificing spirit of 
our foi'cfathers by exalting our American ideals and instill 
them anew into the social and moral life of our i)eople. If 
we as individuals are willing to live according to these ideals, 
then shall the dead not have lived in vain, and the final gist 
of Americanism will be a broader development of that vir- 
tue — self-sacrifice — which is the noblest thing in the world 
today. Then will life and joy abound where once wi(;ked- 
ness and sorrow reigned. He who would hold the scepter in 
this wise rules as an uncrowned king of today and owns 
eternal allegiance with the 'Prince of Peace.'" 

C'arl E. Haterius. 


Aimust 22, 1919. 




His life was genllo; and the elements so mixed in 
him, that nature might stand up and say to all the 
world, "This was a MAN!" 

Colonel Perry M. Hoisington, a Kansas soldier and citi- 
zen since the year 1884, has ever been a close disciple of this 
State's ideals and what they contain. Although not a 
''Kansan" by birth, he has from the moment of entrance 
into the State's citizenship tendered an uplifting and perme- 
ating influence which in its entirety has called for sincere de- 
votion and love of service. 

Born on a farm in St. Joseph Coimty, Alichigan, in 1857, 
he spent his tender years amid '^natiu'e's own" growing up 
and in the course of time assimilating ideas and learnings 
which later was to be a pertinent factor in shaping a career 
which was to prove of vast benefit not alone lo such a \noyc 
unit as "State," but to national integrity. His early yeais 
and school days were spent at Three Rivers, Michigan, 
where he completed his common and high school courses. 
His military career commences January 12, 1875, when he 
entered the National Guard service of Michigan, holding the 
rank of Sergeant in Company "D." Later, he was commis- 
sioned Second Lieutenant, serving until November 2(3, 1881. 
He was mariied in 1884, and leaving the State of his birth, 
moved to Newton, Kansas, which was to prove his home foi- 
years to come. Beginning his Kansas National Guaid ca- 
reer he served in Company ''D, " Second Infantry, fiom 
August 8, 1890, on uj) tluough the years, serving in th(^ 
various ranks from private ui) to Colonel. He received his 

2 Roninisccnccs of ihe Vo7th r. S. I iifdnlnj 

coiiiiuis.sioii as First J.iculciiaiil in Mic Second Inlniiii'v Scj)- 
tember 21, 1890. 

Except during active service the officers and men of the 
National Guard regiments devoted their major time to 
whatever occupation was in choosing. Unhke the Regular 
standing army, entire time was not devoted to the military, 
although certain regular observances were held at all times, 
such as drill once a week, or whatever the curriculum called 

Lieutenant Hoisington, upon arrival in Newton, dcn'oted 
his time, aside from military duties, to tlu^ transfei- business, 
handling coal and building materials, which occupied his 
time for several years. Entering into politics, he was elected 
to the office of County Treasurer from 1892 until 1896. 
Due to efficiency and interest shown in the military, as well 
as civil, he was promoted to the rank of Captain in the 
Kansas National Guards March 4, 1892, and on the 18th of 
September, 1894, was accorded the rank of Major. 

From the time of his entrance into the State's inilitaiy life 
up through the years he has served in official capacity, his 
one desire has been to elevate and place the National Guard 
units of this State upon an accredited recognized basis. As 
is well known, the National Guard imits of our various 
States have had a hard row to hoe, and there is little ques- 
tion of the fact that, from their organization up until the 
time of the World War, when the National Guards proved 
their mold, they had been forced to struggle along as best 
they could, and competition between them and the Regular 
standing army created conditions not to the former's liking. 
In othei- woixls, the National Guard organizations have in 
years past l)een frowned upon, which caused their lot to be- 
come just a little burdensome. But with all this granted. 

Cohincl Pcrrfi M. 11 oisi ikjIoii \\ 

noUiiii^' (launlcd, and due (o (he ciidcaAors of such iiicu as 
(leneral Martin, Colonels Metcalf and Hoisin^ton, th(^ or- 
ganization of our own particular State niilitaiy units have 
steadily improved, and today they have, alon^- with the 
various other State (Juards, reached a position which has 
called for the admiration and (\steem of the entire countiy. 

On August 15, 1895, Major Hoisin^ton was advanced to 
the rank of Colonel of the Second Kansas National (hiai'd 
regiment, and from thence on we know but one — Colonel 
Perry M. Hoisin^lon. In 1897, Colonel Hoisinoton became^ 
Secretary and (jenei'al Mana^ei* of the Railroad Buildinp;, 
Loan and Savings Association in Newton, which position he 
still occupies. During- these yeai's with this institution, he 
has seen the assets of this or^-anization g;row from nothing- 
up to three and one-half million dollars. 

From 1895 up until 1917, Colonel Hoisinoton served as 
commandei' of the old Second Kansas National Guard i"e.i>;i- 
ment. He was connnandant of the Second Regiment in the 
border service, where meritorious service was done. 

When wai- with the Central Powei's was declai'ed and the 
various State military units were called into Fedei'al service, 
the First and Second Kansas Guai-ds i-eoiments were first 
iuol)ilized in their home rendezvous and then later concen- 
ti'ated at Camp Doniphan, Oklahoma. Here the two reg;i- 
ments were consolidated into the 137th Infantiy. Hei'e it 
was that Colonel Hoisinoton played a most important role. 
To brin^- two regiments together, assimilate the two into one 
compact working- oi-ganization, to know what to us(> and 
what not to use, changing the rostei- of composite organiza- 
tions, assigning tli(* i-ecjuii-ed numbei- of pei'soiuiel to each 
unit within a newly organized I'cgiment, obtain and correctly 
classify all i'(M'or(ls and official documents, hnally get the 

4 Renu'niscencps of the lo7fh ('. S. I nfaiifrif 

wlit'C'ls ill iiiotion and llic work Ik'^iui, is a |)iol)k'iii which 
woiikl tax the best of ingenuity and initiative in man. Along 
with al^le cohorts, Colonel Hoisington performed the stren- 
uous service demanded by the War Department, and it was 
not long before the new 137th Regiment was organized and 
accomplishing its objectives day by da^^ Colonel Perry M. 
Hoisington was placed in command of the new organization, 
and from the first day up until the time the "Grand Old 
Man" left our midst, we were never in doubt as to our ability 
as a composite military unit. 

During his tenure as commandant of the regiment, officers 
and men alike learned to know him as a man, patriot and 
citizen of the first water ; along with military duties which 
required discipline, conciseness and command, he was ever 
kind in a fatherly way, considerate as human to human, and 
at all times took the interest of the officers and men to heart, 
and it did seem as though he were a '^father to us all." We 
learned to call him "the Grand Old Man," and behind these 
words is portrayed all due sincerity and esteem. Many a 
time has the writer followed in the line of march behind his 
stately "charger" while out on some "hike" or maneuver. 
Can to this day see him as he sat his saddle, tall, straight, 
soldierly, leading the line of march, turning now and then 
and glancing back over the heads of the moving line, now 
and then issuing a command, or turning a receptive ear to 
some message oi' other information brought by carrier. 
From his officers he demanded with firmness, but kindl}^ in 
its portrayal, leadership, fortitude, efficiency, for they were 
in part responsil)le for scores under their command. Dur- 
ing the officers' "school days" at Doniphan, Colonel Hois- 
ington would often hold consultation with his command. 
From these "schoolings" much benefit was derived. We 

Colonel Prrri/ M . IIoi.s/tKjfon 5 

renieiiilxM- one inolto in |)aili('ular whicli Colonel Hoisington 
gave utterance to while calling the attention of the officers 
to their responsibilities and what was expected of them : 
"Ignoi'ance, erroi- and laziness must be paid with blood." 
How ti'ue that rings whc^n we think of thousands of the flower 
of this land who at that time were preparing themselves for 
the great task of war. How often scores of lives have been 
lost due to the ''ignorance, error or laziness" of one or more 
responsible individuals. It proved timely advice^ and well 
worth heeding. 

While sitting amid the environs of yo studio, giving accent 
to those thoughts and feelings of past days, we cannot l)ut 
look back upon that time when hundreds of lads from di- 
verse points of this State were doing their little })it down 
there in the wilds of Oklahoma, learning from those who 
knew and were in command, the art of preparedness and be- 
coming equipped for the trials ahead. It was some consola- 
tion to know and fe(^l that we had leaders who hesitated not 
from lack of efficiency and knowledge. We knew we had an 
individual at our head who had our interest at heart and was 
doing his utmost to instill his motives and ideals into the 
hearts of his men. As hard and trying as certain instances 
were, under the guiding leadership, the human interest, the 
fatherly encouragement, shown even the lowly "doughboy," 
we acquired a certain love and pride in what we did and ac- 
complished, and now as we look back upon that time, we 
can realize with "Druinmond," where he quotes," You will 
find as you look back upon your life that the moments that 
stand out, the moments when you really lived, are tlie mo- 
ments when you have done things in the spirit of love." 

During oui' numerous inspections and parades, which, as 
it seemed, were necessary evils in our cuiriculum and re- 

6 licitiin/sccnccs of the 1S7th U. S. f tifdntri/ 

•yarded in I lie same li«i,ii( hy odiciM-s and men, many inlcivst- 
ing and sometimes amusing incidents occurred. During one 
particular inspection and field maneuver, Major O'Connor 
was attempting to swing his men into a certain position. 
Colonel Hoisington, sitting astride his "charger" some little 
distance away, was watching the maneuver. Finally, per- 
ceiving that the movement was not exactly as planned, he 
called out, "Major, I don't think you can do that." Major 
O'Connor, hastening on his way up so as to place himself at 
the head of the column, vented forth in his characteristic 
way, "Yes, I can, Perry," and forthwitli gave the conunand. 
Sometimes even an officer, let alone a Major, during hasty 
and trying moments, forgets himself to the amusement of ye 
doughboy. Often a Colonel's lot is not as easy and recu- 
perative a position as it would appear to the casual observer. 
True, a Colonel's uniform always looks so spick and span, so 
"nifty" and neat. At times you see him "promenading" 
about, cairying a "cursed" swaggerstick, j^jrodding h(>re 
and there, wondeiing wliy this and that. Deliver us from 
such (nnbarrassment. We only claimed one such "regulai-." 
Do not grant youiself the conclusion that we are prejudiced 
versus the "swagger"; we are not, but do contend that it 
goes well with the "oakleaf " or the "eagle" ; but we have 
always entertained a "horror" for that little "feminine" 
cliaracter who goes al)out swinging first this way, then that, 
prodding here, then there, enquiring in highly pitched bell 
tones the reason for this or that. ■ As mentioned, when 
tliinking of the woi'd "Colonel," we see the aforementioned 
taikjred miiform, the firm military step, the erect carriage of 
an officer. We have always admired such, for this individual 
nuist, according to the position he holds, stand an acme, an 
U\ci\] for tlu^ hundreds of men undei' him. Judge not his 

Colonel Perry M. lIoisitKjIon 7 

posilioii I'loiii llic (licss. As we mciil ioiicd, ;i ( 'oloiicl's lot 
during those clays was not a pathway of roses. Aside from 
his pi-escribed militaiy duties and worries, his office was 
often bombarded with excessive mail from anxious home 
folks. Here was a mother, enquii'in<»; as to thc^ welfai'e of 
her "boy." ' Was he <>;ettinj>; enouoh to eat ? What kind of 
company was he in? Could he come home for a visit to see 
his little baby sistei"?" and a thousand and one other things. 
We might mention in this connection that, during those first 
days of America's initiation into the military, people were 
not accustomed lo the conditions as they latei' learned to 
l)ecome. Many a young lad was away from home for the 
first time. It was but natural that mother missed and per- 
haps worried just a little about him, and knowing of no other 
method, would get in touch with "John's" commanding of- 
ficer, who'i-^uis she thought was the Colonel. In courtesy to 
Colonel Hoisington, it miglit l)e said that to each and every 
letter of enquiiy I'cceived from anxious mothei's oi- fatheis, 
personal I'eplies \v(M'e tendei'cd, and often tlie "charge" in 
question was looked up and details of his existence learned. 
All this tended to instill that feeling of closer i-elationship 
between the men and officers, oi* oflPicei-, as the case might 
be. It led to firmei' co-operation and interest in the work. 
It made us feel that we were, aside from the necessary mili- 
tary foi-malities, a l)i'()thei-hoo(l of individuals, all striving 
for the same goal. 

On Friday, January 3, 1918, the entire regiment was 
greatly surprised, and not a little saddcMied, when word was 
received that Colonel Hoisington was going to leave our 
midst. At first we did not believe it. He had been with us 
so long, fi'om the very day we wei'c organized into the li^Tth 
Regiment, and now we were about read\' to kvive for "()v(M- 

8 Renn'riiscrncfs of the 1S7lh U. S. I nfiuiinj 

There." That afternoon the final i)arade and farewell cere- 
mony was enacted. At that time the rep;iment was turned 
over to a new commander. After the accustomed parade 
was over, the regiment was drawn up in formation and a 
panorama picture taken. Colonel Hoisinoton and staff in 
the foreground and the regiment standing in order in the 
rear. Upon conclusion of this event, the regiment was 
turned over to the command of Colonel McMasters, who 
was to have charge until we left for France. That evening, 
an elaborate farewell reception had been planned by the 
men of the regiment under supervision of Major O'Connor, 
Adjutant Bonney, Captain Ellis and Bandmaster Fink, but 
due to the extreme inclement weather the program had to 
be canceled. Colonel Hoisington left us, and we saw him no 
more until after our return from Europe and while coming 
into the harbor of New York; the ''Grand Old Man" stood 
there on deck of that little reception tug along with many 
other distinguished Kansas folk l)idding us welcome back to 
God's country and home. When we perceived that wel- 
come sign, ''Kansas welcomes you home!" and then looked 
over to where our old Colonel was standing smiling, we knew 
we had not read incorrectly. Kansas did welcome us, and 
our old leader was there to see that correct emphasis were 
attached. True, we were most glad to see Governor Allen, 
General Martin, Colonel Metcalf, and others ; but realize, if 
you will, what it meant to us to once more have our first 
Colonel close at hand. As he stood peering up to the deck 
of our large transport, he no doubt noticed the apparent lack 
of old familiar faces and the glances of many new and strange 
coimtenances. There were over twelve hundred of the latter. 
During our absence overseas, several within the regiment 
often received word from "Our Colonel," and each letter 

Colonel Pcrrj/ !\f . Iloisitujlon 9 

thus received demonstnitc^d [\\v fact of tlie vast i)iidc he 
bore for ^'liis men and officers," and how i)rou{l he wiis of 
the record they were making. During our absence^ Colonel 
Hoisington was assigned the work of organizing the new Kan- 
sas National Guard within the Stale, and lie is at present, 
along with his many other duties, acting as Colonel commnnd- 
ing of the Fourth Infantry, Kansas National Guard, with 
headquarters at Newton, Kansas. He has been President of 
the First National Bank of Newton foi- several years, having 
also served on the city council and school board. 

Colonel and Mrs. Hoisington's honu* has been blessed with 
five children — two boys and three giils. His eldest soib 
Major Gregory Hoisington, U. S. A., is a graduate of West 
Point. Colonel Hoisington's other interests point to tlu^ 
fact that he has served in a i)rominent way the Masonic in- 
stitution of Kansas, l)eing Past Grand Master, Past Grand 
High Priest, and Past Grand Commander. He has been a 
member of the Masonic Home Boai'd in Wichita since its 
inception in 1892, and chaiiinan of the lilxecutive Connnittee 
since 1895. Aside from these and military duties, Colonel 
Hoisington has always been a zealous chm-ch workei', and at 
present occupies the position of ruling elder in the Presl)y- 
tc^rian Church, and is a membei- of th(^ Board of Trustees of 
the College of Emporia. In his own words, when asked 
about future plans, he exclaimed, "I am perfectly satisfied 
with Newton, and expect to finish my days here." 

In concluding l)ut a brief sketch of him who has foi- so long 
drawn our thoughts and insi)irations, wv do acclaim as men 
in unison with Shakesi)eai'e : " H(^ was a man, take him all 
in \x\\ ; I shall not look upon his like again." 



Fird and Second Kans(i>< Rcyuncnts. 

In compiling a history, biography and the hke, there must 
needs be many things to be taken into consideration. Al- 
though never a member during the earl}^ existence of either 
of the two Kansas regiments, data received and herein con- 
tained must suffice in presenting the reader a short biography 
of our two State military organizations. 

Kansas, always a reformer at heart, has chning past days 
shown a tendency to take the initiative" in any great mov(>- 
ment or reform, whether political, economic or social. She 
has been a leading light upon the high seas of reform, and 
blazing the way for others to follow. Through years of toil 
and hardship she has ever sailed these seas with a sturdy 
rudder and sails set. Kansas, early to realize the need of 
organizing a composite unit of protection within her borders, 
formed what was at that time called the ^' State Guards," 
later known and incorporated into the Kansas National Guards. 

From their early organization up until and including the 
137th Infantry, their personnel portrayed a decidedly Kansas 
complexion. Composed of volunteers from all sections of 
the State, its members represented the clean, rugg(Hl, i-ol)Ust 
t\'i)e of western manhood which has always been so char-" 
acteristic of our western civilization. Some writers have 
presented data giving the year of the two regiments' found- 
ing as 1878. It is, however, a well known fact that the 
Wichita companv-. Company "A" of the Second Regiment, 

Oiujafiizafioh' of 137th I njanlnj 1 1 

boasts of an even oarlier (lat(\ From the very first (he two 
Kansas National (Uiard rej^iments exi)erience(l the nsual 
vicissitudes which usuaHy surround youn^- and stru^-^linj;- 
organizations. In some locahties companies were nuistci-ed 
out and r(H)i'«>,a]iized, other locahties mustercMl out .never to 
ai)i)ear at that particular place. The strenj2;th of the com- 
panies was not always up to quota, but with that spirit of 
''Ad Astra Per Aspera'' ("To the stars through difficulties") 
dominating-, the organizations were maintained. 

Previous to the passage of the National Defense Act of 
June 3rd, 1910, no provision for the direct support of these 
units was in opeiation. Many of the needs of the companies 
wei'c^ met by the voluntary contributions of officers and men. 
Remuneration for the National (luard service was not lavish, 
to say the least. A Captain received $2.80 per month, a 
First Lieutenant $1.50, a Second Lieutenant $1.00, and a 
private 50 cents. In return, the State required officers and 
men to drill at least once every week. Outside of personal 
contribution in money by the personnel, all other work neces- 
sary for the maintenance and training of the various units 
was contributed gratis by officers and men alike. Surely a 
democratic army! 

With the jmssage of the National Defense Act, the situa- 
tion was improved. LTnits were better supplied, salaries 
created more in proportion, and the general character of the 
oj-ganization improved. Captains now received $500 per 
annum, First Lieutenants $300, Second Lieutenants $250, 
and privates $50. In conjunction with this, the curriculum 
of training was greatly improved and strengthened. 

The two National Guai-d regiments were called into active 
service on various occasions. The First Regiment (pielled 
disorders arising from the M. K. <k T. strike at Parsons, 

12 Rcnihiisci')iic\s of (lie loJl/i l\ S. Injdiilnj 

Kansas, in 1886. The Second Regiment was called l)y the 
Governor to (luell the troubles at the Stevens Count^^ county 
seat in 1888, and both regiments were called occasionally by 
sheriffs to ])revent lynchings in various quarters. At the 
()utbi(^ak of tlu^ Spanish- American War in 1898, Governor 
Leedy, althougli promising to call on the two State units^ 
later deemed it best to organize separate volunteer vmits for 
the participation. At this juncture, several companies of 
the two Guard units came forward and directly offered their 
services. They were accepted. 

Before passing on, it might be well to note from whence 
the various companies of the First and Second National 
Guard Regiments hailed. 

A'/V.s7 /?r'r/?>/^e/^/— Regimental Ileadciuarteis, Lawrence ; 
Supi)ly ( 'ompany, lola ; Machine Gun ( 'onipaiiN', Humboldt ; 
Medical G()ri)s, Lawi-ence ; Gompany "A," Kansas Gity, 
Kansas; Gompany "B," Horton ; Gompany "G," Burling- 
ton; Gompany "D," Paola ; Gompany ''E," Fi-edonia ; 
Gompany "F," Hiawatha; Gompany "G," Ft. Scott; 
(/ompan}^ "H," Lawrence; Gompany "I," Manhattan; 
Gompany '*K," Goffeyville ; Gompany '^L," Yates Genter ; 
Gompany "M," Lawrence. 

Second Regiinent — Regimental Headciuartei's, Hutchinson ; 
Supply, Machine Gun and "E" Gompanies, Hutchinson; 
Medical Gorps, Lawrence; Gompany "A," Wichita; Gom- 
pau}^ "B," Holton; Gompany "G," Great Bend; Gompany 
"D," McPherson ; Gompany ''E," Hutchinson; Gompany 
" F," Larned ; Gompany '* G," Minneapolis ; Gompany '' H," 
Winfield ; Gompany ''I," Wichita ; Company ''K," Independ- 
ence ; Gompany '^L," Emporia; Gompany ''M," Salina. 

With various changes, the regiments remained active until 
the time of the consolidation. 

Organization of t37ih Infanlri^ 13 


When trouhlc with Mexico arose in n)l(), <h(^ two iv^\- 
nients wore called upon to render their first Federal service. 
At President Wilson's Jurisdiction, divisions of the Regular 
Army and National Guards were sent to the Mexican border 
to protect American soil fVom the ''Bolsheviki maniacs." 
Mexican outlaw bantls operating- in and around the frontier 
made life miserable for those living there. Tli(» two regi- 
ments wei-e mobilized at Fort Riley June 22nd and 23rd, 
1916. The Second Regiment arrived on the border July 
1st, and the First Regiment on July 7th, respectively. 

The two regiments were brigaded with the First Vei-mont 
Regiment, which at that time was commanded by Colonel Ira 
L. Reeves, who was later to conmiand the 137th Infantry 
during an interesting stage of its life in France. Colonel 
Wilder S. Metcalf had been in connnand of the First Regi- 
ment since 1897, except during the Spanish-American War, 
at which time he served as Major of the Twentieth Kansas 
Volunteers, commanded l)y Colonel Fi-(Hierick D. Funston. 
As Major of the Twentieth Kansas in the Philippine cam- 
paign, he was promoted to the viink of Colonial in that regi- 
ment when Colonel Funston was promoted to Brigadier- 
General. Later, Colonel Metcalf was given the rank of 
Brigadier-General in the National Guards. Colonel Pei-ry 
M. Hoisington commanded the Second Kansas on the 
bordtM-. He had received the rank of Colonel in 1895, after 
having served as Captain and Major. Hv remained in 
connnand of the regiment tlnough the Si)anish-Aniei-ican 
War and on the Mexican border. 

14 Remiiiiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 


While at Eagle Pass, the men's duty consisted of guarding 
the numerous passes over a seventy-mile front. Their life 
was a monotonous one and tested the iron in every one of 
them. The men's version of their stay at Eagle Pass por- 
trays a picture quite dismal in its entirety : "The hot winds, 
sand-storms and cactus became unbearable at times, and we 
didn't know what to do for protection. It was pretty hard 
to (!ome from civilian life down to this life in the desert." 
The daily sand-storm became a menace and its effects were 
most discomforting. An unusual incident occurred the night 
of July 19th, when they were suddenly awakened l)y a ter- 
rific sand- and wind-storm, which swept every tent to the 
ground and strewed wreckage for acres around. This was 
followed ])y a heavy downpour of rain, and as the men had 
no covering they received the full benefit of the deluge. 
Tents as well as dreams had Ijeen shattered, and the follow- 
ing morning found the company streets littered with the 
debris. The two days following were utilized in rebuilding 
a camp. 


On September 6th, 1916, the two regiments, mnnbering 
one hundred officers and eighteen hundred men, were trans- 
ferred by trucks from Eagle Pass to San Antonio, a distance 
of a hundred and sixty miles, across desert and plain. As 
this was the first time such a great body of men had been 
conveyed overland in such manner, many observers and in- 
spectors accompanied the units. The trip was an experi- 
ment and results were desired either for the better or the 
worse. It proved without a doubt that the motor truck had 
reached a new era in its development and would hereafter be 

Or(j(mizalion of 137th Infantry 15 

used to a great extent in our army. It was not to be long 
until these veterans of the border were to make similar trips 
later, over in France. General Funston met the units 
at Castroville. Arriving at San Antonio the regiments, 
together with the Seventh Illinois, were brigaded and com- 
posed the First Brigade of the Twelfth Division. General 
Henry A. Green, of the Twelfth Division, acquired such ad- 
miration for the two Kansas regiments that he had requested 
that they be placed under his command. 

On September 16th, the Twelfth Division began a prac- 
tice march to Austin, arriving there after covering a distance 
of 102 miles. It proved a real test for the men, and one 
never to be forgotten. The division left Austin September 
27th, taking a shorter route, and arrived back in San Antonio 
October 2nd. This last trip constituted 80 miles. Complet- 
ing their required service on the border, the regiments leav- 
ing San Antonio arrived at Fort Riley, and were mustered 
out of Federal service, the First Regiment October 31st and 
the Second Regiment November 12th, 1916. Many demon- 
strations were now in order, and both soldiers and civilians 
made the old home towns ring. Those were glorious days 
to the returning veterans. 

The value derived from the border experience cannot be 
easily overestimated. Down there in the hot winds, sand 
and cactus, living a vigorous outdoor life, learning to endure 
fatigue, discomfort and hardship, it moulded the men into 
soldier caste of the best quality, and the men became phys- 
ically fit to withstand all hardships of rigorous campaigning. 
The border service proved to be a great training school for 
these men who were later to become veterans of the greatest 
war recorded in the annals of history. 

16 Reutinisccnces of the 137th U. S. Infantry 


Plaving been admitt(xl to the lal^oratory of the human 
masses ; seen and probably in a minute way served as one 
of them through a })itter crisis, both while preparing and 
afterwards taking an active part in the great inferno, I have, 
like many others, been privileged to witness the action and 
reaction of man's thought as it crystallized into concrete", 
things. Before we entered into the war an entire nation 
strong, there were various and conflicting notions regarding 
our prescribed duty. I perceived for the first time how high 
sentiment, by which all human minds are inspired for better 
or for worse, may become the habitual movement of the 
mind at an age when so many, if they live at all in spirit, 
are but nursing the selfish and distorted fancies of morose 

For years past and leading up until the lioui- of the great 
war, the world to many of us had been a brotherhood of 
noble souls. We were, on the average^ suddenly awakened 
from our dream during the sunnner of 1914. As the months 
progressed, the low-hanging clouds upon our eastern horizon 
became all the more darker and blacker. That eventful 
year of 1914 found the dogs of war unleashed in the far off 
Balkans. In an instant Europe was in tiuinoil. In Berlin 
and Vienna long cherished hopes of world dominion seemed 
near realization. The cry, ''On to Paris!" swept over Teu- 
tonic lands, and soon the soil of beautiful France felt the 
stepping of hostile hordes. Then came long cruel months of 
l)itter war; days when liberty seemed almost lost — ''Truth 
on the scaffold, Wrong occupying the throne" — days when 
human flesh cried out in despair. It was not long until we 
felt the fangs of the enemy as he bit here and there. At 

()r(j(nu'zali()n of 137lh Injuntrii 17 

last, when every mode of modern diplomacy and negotiation 
had served nil, the cloud l)roke. Personal as well as national 
liberty was at stake, and finally we were able to perceive 
that not only national hwi workl-wide liberty was hanging 
in the l)alance. As an incentive to spring to action, we 
barkened to that voice calling out over the water, at first 
likened to a voice crying in the wilderness of anguish and 
woe. That voice, as the voice of long ago, seemed to say, 
''Come over and help us!" We were slow to awaken, but 
once awake and arising from our ''dreamer's bed" we sprang 
to action. Out across the vast expanse of this continent 
the machinery was put in motion, and soon the entire land 
was in a maelstrom of preparation. 

Kansas among the first to realize her mission, spared no 
straw or quill. With the spirit of old, she mounted the 
rostrimi and with a steady and firm hand commenced to 
bring her forces into play. Things were now happening in 
rapid order, and no time must be lost. It was at this stage 
our two State mihtary organizations sprang to life as it 
were. August 5, 1917, will always be remembered by those 
who in any way were to be an integral part of these units. 
The popular mind was then commencing to awaken, and re- 
sponsibilities, fast accunuilating, were shouldered with a 
spirit of renewed vigor and enthusiasm. This bespeaks the 
civilian as well as the military. A volunteer system of serv- 
ice was now before the people of the State, and nobly they 
responded. Companies formerly lacking in personnel, now 
increased from sixty to one hundred and fifty men. Each 
company of our two National Guard regiments wei-e fully 
equipped and assigned. On August 5th, the two regiments, 
the First and Second Kansas, were mobilized, each company 
in its home rendezvous. Company "A" of the First, Cap- 

18 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

tain A. K. Rupert in command, and Company ^'H" of the 
Second, Captain F. H. Vaughn in command, left in advance 
of the regiment for Camp Doniphan, which was to be the 
concentration point for all National Guard units from Mis- 
souri and Kansas. Arriving there August 28th, these two 
companies were assigned to guard and fatigue duty. 

The various companies began leaving their home rendez- 
vous about September 29th. Now, as we look back upon 
that time, it brings many thoughts to mind. Trains drawn 
up at the stations, great crowds of people, friends, relatives 
and others who had come down to bid the soldier boys fare- 
well and Godspeed. A final parade down the old home 
street, the playing of bands, the colors to the breeze, the 
mobs of cheering human voices, and here and there even a 
tear added to the setting. Then the most human farewells, 
the showering of baskets of eats, and the trains pull out. 
Many of those partings were more sentimental, more touch- 
ing, than any seen thereafter. As we left for camp, every- 
body seemed to think, nay, believe, that it was the last 
farewell ; they would see us no more until we returned from 
''Over There." Even we were inclined to this viewpoint. 
We had a mental picture of a huge military camp surrounded 
by a strong cordon of guards where no outsider was to be 
allowed near or within our habitat. Everything must be 
done in the greatest of secrecy. A few weeks in this camp 
at the most and we would be on our way to Europe. 

It was perhaps characteristic of the popular mind to take 
things in a much harder way at that time than a few months 
later. At that time the whole business was new and un- 
famihar to most of us. As the months went by soldier and 
civilian alike learned to take responsibilities, to face things 
from a more concrete standpoint. Our government propa- 

Onjanization of 137th Infantry 19 

ganda proved a strong instrument in arousing the ''sleeping 
ones," and in fact awakening all of us, and we saw our duty 
clearly. We as a nation had })een slum})ering perhaps a 
little too long. Our endeavors had l)een too long concen- 
trated on the almighty dollar and what it contained. Now 
we came to realize the duty of that dollar force as well as 
the duty of the human element. As the soldier was to un- 
dergo his course of training, so the civilian, those at home, 
were to undergo theirs. How nobly they responded is now 
portrayed hy official records and documents. Every man, 
woman and child with but meager exception, went into the 
work wliich will always mei'it the high(\st esteem and con- 
sideration of the Allied world. The motto seemed to read: 
"(io in to win, and do it quickly." The jM^ople did, the sol- 
diers did, and now, "It is the j)rivilege of poets-innniMnorial 
and native to the clan, that they should share the innnor- 
tality they confei-. This right we may now as brothei's in a 
gieat cause vindicate for our own." 

We i-ef(M- onc(^ again to the picture as was then presented. 
The departing troop-trains are now on their way, and all 
along the route we receive the hearty cheers and good-byes 
of the populace. Aftei' an all night's ride, the regiments 
arrive at Camp Doniphan the morning of September 30th. 
The ti'ip in many respects had been a nuMiioi-able one. There 
was little sleep on l)oard that night; everybody was in high 
spirit and didn't mind demonstrating the fact. As we pulled 
in on the siding at camp, everybody was anxious to be about, 
to do what was to be done, and become settled as soon as 
possible. It was one step nearer Berlin, our idtimate goal. 

Stepping off of the train with packs slung, we were lined up 
in column of fours and marched up to camp proper. De- 
tails had been left on ti-ain to supervise the handhng of 

20 lieminiscenccs of the 1 37 III U. S. Infanlnj 

baggage and other cumbersome paraphernalia. It was with 
some dou})t and misgiving we viewed the area of our future 
home. As no tents had been pitched, few buildings in ex- 
istence, it meant work for every man — sergeants, corporals 
and privates alike. Mention will be made of camp construc- 
tion in following chapter. 

October 2nd is a memorable date in this record. It marks 
the consolidation of the First and Second Kansas National 
Guards into the new organization, the 137th Kansas Infantry 
Regiment. The aggregate enlisted strength of the new regi- 
ment was over 4000 men. The new regiment, together with 
the newly organized 138th, 139th and 140th, constituted the 
infantry units of the 3r)th Division. As the regiment was 
now ai)ove quota in strength, many men were transfen-ed to 
auxiliary units witliin the' division. Skilled mechanics and 
artisans were altaclied to sjx'cial coi'ps, and soon the.iegi- 
ment was oi-ganized on the basis of a total of 3100 men and 

In the consolidation, the senior Captain remained in com- 
mand of respective companies. If, however, he failed to 
meet all requirements, after a thorough trial, he was sent 
elsewhere and the next in command assigned. This weed- 
ing out process affected })oth officers and enlisted men. 
Colonel Hoisington, who was the new commander of the reg- 
iment, desired that the personnel of the organization be kept 
clean and thorough tluoughout. Colonel Hoisington took a 
most important part in the work of consolidation of the two 
regiments. He was assisted l)y Colonel Metcalf, Major 
John O'Connor and Adjutant Bonney. So now, with sails 
set and rudder in position, we were off with a flying start. 



As mentioned in a previous chapter, we arrived upon the 
scene which was to prove our future home for the coming- 
seven months— months full of varied and novel experiences. 
We were opening; and turning; to a new and yet unused page 
in oui' lives. As we stei)ped off th(^ train ready to enter in 
ui^on oui' duties, we were, aftei' a fashion, i)lacing; the past 
behind us and accepting; with a free and open hand a new 
responsibility, a rt\sponsibility which was soon to pi'ove the 
metal and mould of America's entire young manhood. For 
weeks the members of the National Guard units had been 
impatiently awaiting the time when packs would be rolled, 
equipment packed, and we would l)e on our way to some 
camp to there Ix^gin our military duties. We had heard so 
much about Camp Doniphan that we were most anxious to 
get there and see for ourselves what it was like. 

We were not long in finding out after once arriving there. 
The sight which met our eyes was enough to cause any 
Young Hopeful to lose whatever enthusiasm he might have 
nccjuired previously. Barely a tent or barrack of any de- 
scription could be seen. Great piles of lumbei-, wire and 
otluM- "debris" littered the ground. Dust and filth every- 
where in evidence. As we were marched up to what was 
designated "our company street," we noticed hundreds of 
litth^ pegs sticking out of the ground. These servt^d as 
markers, showing where each tent was to be erected. The 
only buildings in evidence were a few half-finished mess 
halls and infirmaries. Unslinging our equipment, we were 


Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantrij 

lined up into squads, each squad under the immediate super- 
vision of a non-commissioned officer whose duty it was to 
see that the work of erecting tents, digging ditches and 
straightening things out in general was done in the proper 
way. It was then and there that we learned to realize the 
truth of that aged phrase, ''Thou shalt earn thy bread by 
the sweat of thy brow." It was the pick, shovel and a pair 
of strong arms for each man, and while some were digging 
the ditches around the tent foundation, others were carrying 

'Beaitcoup Kilomet" Voulez Vous Promenade Avec Moi? 

water with which to moisten up the crusted eai'th ; and with 
this dampened soil which was loosened up and packed, floors 
to the tents were thus formed. While busily at work, we 
had the extreme ''pleasure" of being introduced to one of 
Oklahoma's widely known and famous dust-storms, whicli 
come up quite suddenly and often leaving the traveler in 
dire plight, not knowing whether he is on the desert of 
Sahara or on the plains of Egypt, and which at times causes 

Life at (\vtnp Doniphan 23 

Old Sol to become completely hidden from view. A fine 
reception to Uncle Sam's young aspirants! 

By evening of the first day in camp, our tents were up, 
and though rather uncouth in appearance, still they offered 
a shelter from the hot sun and a little of the wind and sand. 
We had eaten nothing since leaving our home rendezvous 
but box lunches, and still had the remains of some kind 
friend's donation. Chicken bones were a specialty that 
evening. Right then and there the old army cry of "When 
do we eat?" came into being. That cry, augmented by 
such relatives as "When do we rest?" and "Why don't the 
band play?" followed us throughout our army life, and at 
times furnished not a little amusement to the tired, hungry 
doughboy. Our first days in camp brought hundreds of 
new faces befoi-e the screen. It was a time of becoming 
acquainted. As these hundreds of new faces would appear 
in camp many observances could be obtained. Some had 
that eager, expectant look ; others, that faraway, longing 
look, as though lost in the crowd amid the hustle and bustle 
of men hurrying hither and thither. Added to this, hun- 
dreds of heavily laden motor trucks and other vehicles hur- 
rying along with cargoes of newly arrived equipment and 
supplies. Everything was in a state of turmoil. As our 
surroundings were new and unfamiliar, one dare not stray 
away too far, as it was with some difficulty that your par- 
ticular company street was located. The next fellow knew 
about as much concerning the whereabouts of Company 
"A" or "B" as you did. 

Our first Sunday in camp, October 7th, our band gave a 
concert in Lawton, its debut before the people of Oklahoma. 
The trip was made in motor trucks, and as we had hitherto 
been accustomed to riding on soft, cushiony leather-uphol- 

24 Reininiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

stered gas carts such as Hudson Sixes, Packards, and the 
Uke, this initial army conveyance was quite a "comedown." 
Expecting to find the city of Lawton a large prosperous- 
looking place, we were very much surprised to note its ap- 
pearance. With the exception of a courthouse, and a few 
presentable buildings, the balance appeared quite ordinar}'- 
and behind the times. The cry, "Give us K. C, Hutchin- 
son or Wichita!" was prevalent, and with sufficient reason. 
Lawton gave us the impression of a place that "used to was 
but now ain't," a place which at some time or other had 
l)een built due to golden dreams of some prospectors who 
imagined their names would go down in modern writ as 
founders of a great metropolis. However, this old town had 
lain dormant for years subject to the winds and rains of 
many seasons, but which now, by accident or otherwise, was 
to prove within a few months a place where money actually 
screamed aloud due to malicious misuse. As the band's 
opening number was rendered, and as their appearance was 
quite unheralded, the only audience was a jailful of characters, 
involving both sexes, who had evidently come to Lawton, 
"spotting" it as a likely place to manipulate whatever 
graft they had to offer. Several thousand soldiers entering 
into the life of such a place is bound to cause the almighty 
dollar to speak in one way or another. At the conclusion of 
the first number, a fair-sized audience was present and seem- 
ingly enjoyed the concert. Concert concluded, aboard the 
trucks once more and back to camp. How strange it felt to 
call it home ; nothing but a tent, containing a few cots and 
personal belongings. During all this time, although slowly 
becoming acquainted and adapting ourselves to our surround- 
ings, still our thoughts would revert back to old familiar 
scenes and environments. Tliere was no such thing as the 

Life at ('(UN]) Doniphan 25 

"dead pnsi bmyinj^; i(s (h^ad." It was about lliis lime lliat 
many received their first army inoculations, and this proved 
a most intcrestinjz; phase of our existence. While lined up 
before the infirmary, and at stated intervals entering one by 
one to receive the ''shot" in the arm, some anuising sp(H;ta- 
cles \nv\ th(^ eye. Previous to this inoculation we had heaid 
t(Mrible blood-curdling tales of how painful, how cruel, those 
inoculations were. Two men it took to hold the needle, 
while thi-ee others held the patient. It was awful to subject 
an innocent party to such tales. As we stood in line await- 
ing "our hour," a muffled thud, and, looking around, would 
perceive some big strapping mother's son seated on th(^ 
floor. His knees had refused to perform any longer and he 
just must sit down for a brief spell. This would draw the 
laughter from the others, who would enjoy the ''needle joke" 
at the expense of some poor seated khaki form. You can't 
})eat a soldier, as has often been demonstrated. 

Things were now becoming somewhat stable, and our life 
in general showed improvement. W(^ had conmienced sol- 
diering in earnest. I am herewith presenting the reader 
with an inside view of our camp life, and in doing so will 
present a few of the main events transi)iring. On Novem- 
ber 1st, the regiment, headed by Colonel Hoisington, went 
out on a sixteen-mile hike, carrying packs and equipment. 
These hikes were made for the purpose of conditioning the 
men for that which was to come. On this hike each 
man carried dinner rations in raw form, and it behooved 
one and all to then and there learn a few facts concerning 
the culinary art and to apply the "science domestique." As 
is well known, the army teaches many things which are of 
value to the individual. Two so-called criterions are "self- 
reliance" and "initiative" ; in other words, to learn to take 

26 Refniniscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

care of yourself under any conditions or at any place. This 
is typical American, and a contrasting point of difference 
between our army and other armies. This fact was demon- 
strated time and again during the late war. The American 
soldier learns to think for himself, and perhaps it is true that 
he often assumes responsibilities outside of his immediate 
jurisdiction, whereas the individual soldier of sonie other 
nations we know of would strictly follow a system of given 
rules to the letter. How was it with the Germans? Time 
after time we have seen them suffer the effects of this so- 
called ''system." They did not cherish the idea of thinking 
for themselves during any sudden emergency ; they were 
governed by system. Place an American in a tight place, 
and it is not long before his head is doing some swift think- 
ing, and consequently action on his part follows. He is 
alien to anything bound up in ''Kultur." Probably that is 
the reason he has been christened a ''poor soldier but a good 
fighter." If that is what played a decided factor in winning 
the late war, we cry as with one voice, "Encore!" and may 
those traits always remain characteristic of the American 
soldier. Too much stiffness and formality within our mili- 
tary curi'iculum leads to autocracy. So much for "self- 

After reaching our outward destination on that day's 
march, the regiment "fell out" and preparations for dinner 
commenced. Each man built his own little camp-fire and 
made his own dinner. The meal consisted of fried bacon, 
boiled rice, bread and coffee. The writer's first attempt to 
serve dinner "a la carte" proved a dismal failure, for while 
gazing around to see how comrades were progressing, the 
bacon caught fire, and before relief could be forwarded had 
burned to a crisp. After using a full canteen of water in an 

Life at Camp Doniphan 27 

attempt to \mn^ tlic rice lo l)()iliii^ point, (Midcavors were 
suspended and tlm attempt was abandoned, and the rice 
eaten half cooked. Fortunately, no water remained to 
quench the thirst afterwards existing, as consequences might 
have proven acute. 

Being- what you might say ''penned up" foi- some time in 
a military camp, one naturally ci'aves a change of scenery 
now and then. ( 'amp Doniphiui, alt liough sit uatcnl on sonu^- 
what of a jilain, with a chain of footliills skii'ting the western 
boundaiy line, clctimed (Mivirons of interest to those really 
in need of a change of scenery. Off to the west and beyond 
the foothills skirting the camp prop(*r, is situated a very 
picturesque little health resort called Medicine Lodge. 
Farther beyond this, loom the peaks of the Wichita Moun- 
tains. The giant among these pinnacles jxjinting heaven- 
ward is known as Mount Scott, whose inunense body of 
rock and huge boulders tower over 1500 feet upward, and 
can be seen for miles around. On Saturday afternoons, 
many of the boys would be issued twenty-four-hour passes, 
and to this summer resort and the mountains they would 
betake themselves. Many camping trips were thus enjoyed 
which aided materially in breaking th(^ monotony of military 
(!amp life. The favorite detail was that which assigned 
units to guard duty around the big lake out there at the foot 
of the mountain. A huge natural resei'voir, situated close 
to the base of Mount Scott, supplied the c^ntire camp with 
water, and this place was closely guarded at all tiuK^s. 

Our first big day in camp happencMJ to be Thanksgiving. 
Elaborate preparations were made, and mess sergeants and 
cooks became the center of interest. Many of us were away 
from home for the first Thanksgiving, but this was not to 
deter our enjoying the accustomed celebration. Kitchens 

28 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

vied witli one another in seeing wliieli one could out do the 
other. As a member of Head(iuarters Company, I can but 
descril)e our celebration for that day. Our Mess Sergeant, 
commonly known as "Waseek" Palmer, or better known as 
the '^ Human Bear," lived up to his prescribed reputation in 
obtaining '^eats," which ranged from nmn-sized turkeys to 
cranberries, and the feed tendered the ]:)oys woukl do honor 
to a king. Our mess hall had been profusely decorated with 
evergreens, flags and bunting, and the long rows of tables 
represented a facsimile of the famous banquet spreads of 
the Waldorf-Astoria. The meal itself was served ver}^ much 
like our usual army ''slum" dinners were served. Each 
man, carrying his mess-tins, promenaded past the cooks and 
K. P.'s, who served the various dishes in their accustomed 
order. After receiving the allotted share, each individual 
would be seated at the table, and the struggle began. Tur- 
key (an ally of Grease), due to the ''heat" of a previous 
engagement, fell an easy victim to the onslaughts of the 
doughboy, and what territorial claims remained after the 
conflict were parceled out that evening. The last reports 
stated, "a quiet day on all fronts." 

During the month of December, which ushered in rather 
unstable weather conditions, much sickness becann^ preva- 
lent, and it was due to the increasing cases that Doniphan 
received much notoriety. It was quite true that conditions 
were for awhile appalling, and a cleanup was needed. Our 
regimental doctors tried in every way to create better con- 
ditions, and succeeded within our regimental area. They 
proved to be both efficient and conscientious. The regiment 
owes much to Lieutenant Kirkpatrick for what he did in 
the way of improving conditions there. He was ever ready 
to offer his services to all or any who desired such, and today 

Life (it ('(imp Doniphan 29 

there is no more popuhir iiuiii of the ohl JijTth than Lieu- 
tenant Kirkiiiitrick. He and First Sergeant Quinn were the 
l)aek})ones of our Sanitary Corps. At this writing we have 
in our possession citations both from our Division Com- 
mander and the Division Surgeon, commenchng the services 
of these two incUviduals, who were cited for })ravery and ef- 
ficiency while we were in France. 

On December 4th we had our first brigade inspection. It 
was a most unpleasant clay for such an occurrence, as the 
thermometer was very weak, and the northerners were com- 
ing in swoops and gusts. A two-hour's stand out in the 
open facing such is enough to dampen any young hopeful's 
ai-dor. Living in Sibley tents during the cold of winter is 
an experience not always foi-gottcn. One night in pailicu- 
lar — which will ever live to be retold — Friday nighl, Decem- 
ber 7, 1917, a regular blizzard came upon us. The wind, 
sleet and snow caused rather weird music aiound the corners 
and on the canvus roofs of our tent homes. The only means 
of furnishing heat was derived from little ice cream cone 
stoves, which usually stood in the center of each lent, l^^ven 
by huddling close to such stoves it was quite impossible* to 
keep warm this particular night. With the wind and sleet 
whirling in through the knot-holes and crevices of the tent 
sides, to try and keep warm by the heat of thai liltk* stove 
was like attempting to drink the ocean dry. Onv feature of 
the scene was that we now had board floors and sides to 
each tent, the latter about four feet high ; but a new di- 
vision order soon took the joy from our home. In order to 
insure the proper amount of ventilation, eight wooden 
flanges were nailed to the four sides of each tent where the 
canvas covering fastened to the wooden frame. These 
stretched the canopy, leaving air-holes where fresh air 

30 Rcmiui?ceuccs of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

could penetralc into Ihe abode. The plan reality did 
look well on paper, V)ut in reality it felt like— well it didn't 
feel near so well. You no doubt luiderstand the doughboy's 
sentiment when this was thrust upon him. At night, as we 
were ready to retire, a perfect barrage of shirts, socks, over- 
alls, and in fact anything stuffal)le, was rannned down those 
holes in order to kvcp the elements from trespassing. The 
*' University of Hard Knocks" had many discii)les in those 
days. We later learned, while over in France, that i)erhaps 
Doniphan days constituted our kindergaiten days. 

Tuesday, December 11th, we received our hist instruction 
in gas school, where we learned to combat the tantalizing 
influence of the Hun's favorite method of enemy subjugation, 
namely, chlorine gas. Upon being issued gas-masks, an 
hour's drill in adjusting masks was gone through. Eight 
seconds was considered good time to have the mask out and 
placed in position. After accomplishing this feat, we were 
led off to the *' Death-house," just over a little hill west of 
camp. Here an English officer, who liad spent considerable 
time at the Front, took us in charge, and after a few remarks 
in accents characteristic of his race, we adjusted masks and 
in single file entered the abode of mysteries. The doors 
clamped shut, the fumes were released. We could notice a 
dark brownish-looking cloud hanging around, and when the 
order, ''Detect gas!" was given, each man loosed one side of 
mask and took a wdiiff . Once was quite sufficient, and masks 
were quickly replaced. I recall that one fellow, for some 
reason or another, failed to re})lace his mask, luid our first 
casualty resulted. He was gassed (iOOO miles from the 
Front. He recovered, however, but we have been wonder- 
ing ever since whether he ever received a wound stripe. 

Christmas was now drawing near, and each night found 

Life <i( ('fUN)j Doniphan 31 

the town of Liiwtoii overcrovvcled with shopping khakied 
forms eager to obtain some httle remembrance for those at 
home. It was the time when all minds reverted homeward ; 
yes, even the picture of the family circle, the brightly burn- 
ing Yule logs came to mind. How nice to sit beside the 
home hearth and enjoy the warmth and flicker of the fire- 
place. Christmas of 1917 was to prove far different than 
others in years gone by. Many vacant chairs around the 
family circle ; many at home thinking of their husband, 
father or brother, who was spending his Christmas in some 
training camp or across the sea. Even though away from 
home, certain things were remembered, and in order to show- 
that those at home were being remembered, a soldier's gift 
must be the messenger. Lawton, during these shopping 
nights, was likened to a downtown business district of 
some large metropolis. It was during this time that those 
wearing the uniform of their country discovered w^hat bait 
they wTre to the unscrupulous merchants of that place, who 
for the past decade had no doubt been living on Starvation 
Avenue, vainl}^ hoping and praying for just such a scene as 
was now being enacted. Due to the fact that Doniphan had 
been made a National Guard cantonment for the purpose of 
training and fitting the men for service abroad, life in the 
surrounding areas awakened. The civilian population com- 
menced to stir. Lawton, which for years had been a town of 
perhaps four thousand, suddenly found itself. Investors, 
speculators, and grafters of every description from all over 
the country hastened there in order to get in on the golden 
fruit. Prices soared skyward within a few hours. Restau- 
rants and chili houses multiplied by scores, ramshackle places 
of business were established over night, and one could pur- 
chase anything from an alluring imitation diamond to *^I 

32 Reniuiiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

beg your iiarclon, I am a doughnut." Anytliiiig way tol- 
erated, just so the shekels came into tlie coffers. I know of 
one instance where a Captain of one of our companies 
rented a two-room abode in a ramshackle house which was 
to all appearances quite lonesome for a coat of paint, and 
might possibly have stood thus through many long years as 
a relic of Civil War days. Each month he handed the 
owner $75.00 as rent consideration. The word '^ preposter- 
ous" never appeared in the category of words befitting the 
above. There is only one expression which conveys the 
definition, and that is, '' highway robbery." Picture shows, 
which ordinarily charged fifteen cents, raised prices to thirty- 
five cents, and the productions were inferior at best. 

We often read and heard words to the effect that "Our 
boys must live in clean, wholesome environments ; nuist be 
shown every consideration in order to improve theii- happi- 
ness." That it was not so could and was not the fault of 
those ])ack home, but conditions were due to those authori- 
ties in charge of any town or city which happened to l>e 
near a camp or cantonment, and a great part of the re- 
sponsibility could, if it would, be traced back to our gov- 
ernment officialdom. It is true, the saloons and such as 
were within the military areas, were moved, as were certain 
classified resorts ; but the program did not include sufficient 
area. High-salaried inspectors were sent out by the gov- 
ernment to study and report on conditions surrounding the 
various camps and places of troop concentration. The 
question arises, "Did they fail in their mission? Did graft 
enveigle them also? Were they made the goats by certain 
local officials?" When doughboys discuss surrounding con- 
ditions, you may stamp it thusly, "Something lacking some- 
where." Many times we were disgusted with conditions 

Life at Camp Doniphan 33 

surrounding us, as were thousands of other lads in various 
camps. However, we were helpless to act. There we were, 
situated way off in some camp, and as we could do naught 
but accept, we must needs be satisfied and make the best of 
it. In only on(^ tiling did the officials of Lawton acquit them- 
selves, and that was when the city authorities placed the 
jitney service upon an accredited basis, issuing licenses and 
establishing prescribed rates of fare for all drivers of jitneys. 
The fare between camp and Lawton had ranged anywhere 
from fifty cents to one dollar and a half for conveying one 
person a distance of four miles. The rate was now fixed at 
forty cents, and a thriving business continued. Beside the 
hundreds of jitneys, there was a ''narrow gauge" car line 
running from Fort Sifl to town. The damages one way 
amounted to fifteen cents, which was real human after all. 
However, these trams were usually so crowded one would 
spend the greater part of an evening waiting an opportunity 
of even a hold on the rail, and then run the risk of some 
weakminded provost guard ''gently reminding" you of your 
lost dignity. It was a great life, but we bore it and with- 
stood the wreckage. 

As no Christmas furloughs were to be granted, we settled 
down and prepared to celebrate in real style. Although a 
great numl)(^r of the regiment were quarantined, due to the 
epidemic of measles, and were living on the now famous 
"Quarantine Hill," we who I'emaincd at lil)erty made the 
best of things, and the day before found preparations in the 
making. Again our mess halls took on a gay appearance. 
Christmas Eve found the majority of us sitting around our 
little tent stoves writing, reading or indulging in conversa- 
tion until mail call sounds. Quoting from my diary as 
follows : 

34 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

''It is now Christmas Eve, and my first as a soldier and in 
a military camp, and my first away from home. Most 
everybody is sitting around tents reading or writing, and 
those not otherwise engaged are discussing but one subject, 
namely, 'Home.' Are wondering whether there is the tra- 
ditional little candle-lighted tree, the gifts and such. Go 
down to the 'Y' for awhile. It is quite crowded with sol- 
diers. On some faces is portrayed that longing, far-away 
look, others more in the spirit of the occasion. Return to 
tent. It sure looks barren for a night like this — no Christmas 
tree, no candles. Home was never like this. The night is 
cold and somewhat dark and just a wee bit dreary. Mail is 
arriving every hour. Sergeant Cool and his assistants find 
themselves swamped with letters and Christmas packages. 
They work feverishly, and every now and then a runner comes 
in with some more letters and packages. We have not been 
forgotten after all. Never received so much mail in my 
life ; and this refers to many others here. A great Christ- 
mas after all." 

Thus runs my diary for the night before Christmas. 

Christmas Day was a holiday for all. Many visitors ar- 
rived in camp and spent the day. Many of the relatives and 
friends have locked up their doors and journeyed down to 
camp to visit the boys. Many are the scenes enacted. Here 
comes a mother arm in arm with her soldier son ; there a 
sister ; over there a sweetheart and her "hero" ; they speak 
a language foreign to the outer world. To many it proved 
to be the happiest day since coming to camp. During the 
festal hour of the Christmas dinner, mess halls were crowded 
with gay, laughing beings. As we sat down to "manche," 
the ]\and, which was seated at one extremity of the mess 
hall, struck up a tantalizing air and— music was served with 
the meal. Relatives and friends added coloring to the oc- 
casion, and seemed to enjoy the celebration as much as 
soldier son. This day we had the honor of having our Regi- 

Life at Camp Doniphan 35 

mental Commander, Colonel Hoising;ton, Adjutant Bonney, 
Captain Ellis, and Lieutenant Kirkpatrick as guests of honor. 

At the conclusion of the repast, Colonel Hoisington gave a 
little informal talk, which impressed everyone pres(Mit. 
Words so full of sincerity and undaunted loyalty. In the 
course of his speech, and concluding, he offcn-ed toasts to 
"Our illustrious President, the soldiers of America, the Al- 
lies, the Red Cross, the Y. M. C. A., and to all who were 
doing their bit for the great cause at hand." Captain Ellis 
the succe(Hling speaker, then arose and proposed a toast to 
the honor of Colonel Hoisington, which was given with unan- 
imous accord. We finished our repast about mid-afteinoon. 
That evening, every availal)le instrument in camp was ob- 
tained and bands formed, serenading in every company 
street. Thus, the Christmas of 1917 goes down in the pages 
of the dead past, and is now but a lingciing memory. 

New Yeai's passetl quietly on all fronts, and the New 
Year ushered in under wraps. We were now standing at 
the dawn of a new year. A year which was to prove an 
eventful one, not alone to America, but to the entire woild. 

YEAR 1918. 

What seemed like a New Year's resolution was i)assed 
down fi'om Division Headquarters, placing a ban on all pic- 
ture shows in the town of Lawton, and foibidding large 
assemblies at any public building. The epidemic of sickness 
had b(M'ome so acut(^ that every precaution must be taken to 
clieck same. Another preventative was the daily airing of all 
tents. Each day the tent tops were removed and laid inner 
side out upon the ground. Of course this ])ecame rather 
monotonous, and moic than once such expiession as, '' Wlien 
we get over to France we won't have to bothei- with these 

36 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

pesky tents," was heard. True, over in France later on we 
did not live in tents but in billets, sometimes within, at other 
times without, ranging from cowsheds to dugouts. In- 
spections were numerous but quite necessary. 

On January 12th, the officers of the regiment took their 
overseas examination, to determine whether or not they were 
qualified for duty abroad. It was then "false prophets rose 
up among us" and rumors became rife. We were to leave 
for overseas within a week; another, trains had already 
been ordered to camp to convey the regiment. Our market 
was quite "bullish" for a few days and news stocks were 
above par. 

The life of a soldier is a varied but at times a novel one. 
Six days out of every week he arises at the call of the bugle 
which sounds "Reveille" at 5:30 a. m. He dresses hur- 
riedl}^ and assembles for roll call out in his company street. 
Then a few minutes of brisk setting-up exercises, after which 
he returns and makes his bunk and arranges his equipment. 
Mess follows, and this is always a welcome formality within 
the army, especially in a well situated camp where provisions 
are to be had. Later on, in France, there were times when 
mess call was likened unto a "sounding brass or a tinkling 
cymbal." After breakfast, fatigue is in order, and this con- 
sists in cleaning, or in army vernacular, "policing up" the 
company sti'eet and sui'rounding area. Then follows drill, 
noon mess, more policing, drill and evening Retreat, when 
the companies form in their respective company streets, and 
after certain calls by the bugles, Retreat is blown, and the 
I'egimental band plays the national anthem, while all com- 
panies present arms and officers stand at " salute. "> From 
Retreat until ten p. m. Mr. Doughboy is at his leisure, and 
it might be said he usually makes the best of it. 

Life at Camp Doniphan 37 

It was about this time we had (he misfortune of losing our 
regimental commander, Colonel Hoisington. His duties were 
taken over by Colonel McMasters, a Regular Army man 
and a typical Southerner, inclined to dogmatic ideas and 
formulas. From the first, his attention was attracted to 
the regimental band, and certain musical theories were 
placed on their roster for ready reference. While out on 
the drill field one day practicing marching and playing, at- 
tempting to ''step her off" 120 steps per minute, we listened 
to a lecture which impressed us from what might be said 
all angles. It was then that American music came in for a 
trouncing. The Colonel asserted that American music lacks 
so much that is needed. He closed his remarks by a request 
for the heavier classical category as, ''Pop Goes the Weasel." 
Needless to say, we had to o))ey our supeiior, and — it popped. 


Due to the continuing inclement weather, the problem of 
fuel became an acute one. At certain intervals coal was 
supplied, and in this connection it might be said that when- 
ever "Coal call" sounded there was always a mad rush for 
shelter halfs, buckets, sacks, or anything capable of holding 
the precious ore, and out to the coal pile the charging lump 
fiends would come yelling and hollering like so many Co- 
manche Indians. Then a mad scramble amid the l)]a('ken(Hl 
hillock, each one trying to outdo the other. If mother 
could have seen her boy at those times! But fortunately not. 
No such thing as coal-pile etiquette in those days, let alone 
any other formerly observed rules of cultured training. In 
the army, the individual learned that it was "every man for 
himself," and pity be extended the one who was at all back- 
ward in asserting his light. He would have stai-ved or 

38 Remi?iiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

frozen to death long before this writing. Another '^com- 
mendable" feature of army life, as it was in those days, was 
that called '^ dog-robbing." No, it had nothing to do with 
the pound house or a dog hospital, although the casual 
visitoi- might wonder at seeing so many of the canine species 
around, or where they came from. Dog-robbing is just a 
refined definition for ''snitching." You take what the other 
fellow thought he had while this other fellow is looking the 
other way. An efficient dog-rob})er can upon request ob- 
tain anything from a can of "corn willie" to a colonel's 
uniform, and no one is any the wiser. It is an art which 
calls for effici(Micy, coui-age, and devotion to the one for 
which the gift is to be presented. Dog-rol:)bers are usually 
attached to some oflftcer's staff. There is always a chance 
for pi'omotion, and the best man l^ecomes the "Sergeant" 
in charge of the squad. We know of several dog-i'ob})ers 
who have been cited for ])ravery. Where a German prisoner 
and a dog-robber got togethei-, souvenii's usually changed 

It might be well to note in this connection that during 
the coldest weather while in Doniphan, the art of "night 
I'aiding," which was later to become a practiced occurrence 
while in France, took place. During the dark hours of the 
night, silent visits would be made down to the coal bunkers 
behind \\w bath houses. A watchful eye on the guard, a 
quick silent signal, and away went the raiding party with 
the caj^tured booty. . As far as is known, only one casualty 
resulted. Corporal 8hehi, well known thi'oughout the camp, 
was taken captive on one occasion, but applying Clnistian 
Science upon the judge and jury, he outplead the counsel 
and walked out n fi'ee man to the utter consternation of the 
attending witness. 

Life at Cmnp Doniphan 39 

About this time an order came down from Regimental 
Headquarters that all member^ of the regiment should in 
accordance with all rules of health and sanitation have their 
golden locks cut short. There was a great gnashing of teeth. 
To this da}^ we are at a loss to know whether that order was 
made for the })enefit of the barbers' union or, due to the 
numerous dog-rob})ings going on among all ranks, we should, 
like Samson of old, lose our locks, which, if not weakening 
our physical strength, would no doul^t weaken and play 
havoc with our morale. The carnage was awful and beyond 
words! Our hitherto well groomed countenances were 
doomed and committed to ruin for days to come. If mothers 
could have seen their sons after this ''hair barrage" they 
would no doubt have said as one voice, "I never raised my 
boy to be a soldier." 

As the War Department had decided to motorize all in- 
fantry regiments from the "knees down," we were issued 
what later proved to be real friends during our long, tire- 
some hikes in France, namely, hobnail shoes. At first we 
really believed some joke had been played on us, as they were 
so unlike anything we had ever worn. The fellow with 
small feet had little trouble in becoming accustomed to this 
new foot-gear, but it played havoc with those claiming full 
grown pedals. At first, we found navigating rather cumber- 
some and uncertain, and generally we were compelled to 
follow wherever they would lead us. That might have been 
one cause for calling so many up on the carpet. We don't 
know. It has often been said that a good soldier never 
loses his head ; in other words, never goes up in the air. 
There would perhaps be little chance of accomplishing any 
aerial feat whatsoever with such anchors on. 

On Tuesday, February 26th, the entire regiment was in- 
spected by the Division Commander, General Wright, and 

40 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

Governor Arthur Capper. After the review Governor Cap- 
per met and talked to many of the boys, inquiring as to con- 
ditions and how they were getting along, etc. He showed 
himself to be personally interested in the boys and their 
surroundings, and, unlike so many of our official personages, 
he did not stand upon the pinnacle of official dignity, but 
while in camp made himself one of the boys, mixing and 
talking to them freely. From that time on he became one 
of us, and as one doughboy put it, ''He is real human." 


As previously mentioned, we had been motorized from 
the knees down, and now, in order to prove the advisability 
of such an act, a demonstration, an actual test, must be made. 

On the morning of March 7th, the regiment was ''Re- 
veilled" out at 3 : 30 a. m., packs rolled, and after a hasty 
breakfast we started out upon what was to prove a six-day 
hike through the Wichita Mountains. Leaving camp in 
regimental formation, we covered nine miles by noon and 
encamped at Metlicine Park, a l^eautiful summer resort west 
of camp, and at the base of the mountains. Here pup tents 
were pitched and camp established for the night. The after- 
noon, like succeeding afternoons while on this hike, was de- 
voted to athletics. During the evening a huge bonfire was 
))uilt, and around this the band and the crowd assembled. 
After a snappy concei't, we listened to a short talk by Colonel 
McMasteis. The following morning we were up early and, 
after a good camp breakfast, were again on our way. Our 
course dui*ing the seven days took us in and out among the 
foothills of the mountains, and aside from a twenty-four- 
hour dust- and sand-storm we enjoj-ed the "outing" im- 
mensely. The third night out, a sham night battle was 
staged, which proved quite interesting. 

Life at Camp Dofu'phnn 41 

During our slay at ('anip No. 4 a ^rand son^fosf was lic^ld. 
Each company of the regiment chose a song, and, accom- 
panied by the band, would in turn voice its particular senti- 
ments in song. As this was to be a competitive contest, 
each company attempted to outdo the other. The contest 
was won by Company '^D." 

As we were returning to camp and while passing Division 
Headquarters, General Wright stood out upon a httle hillock 
and watched the column swing past. Everybody, though 
tired, dirty and hungry, was whistling and singing and 
stepping along in unison. We were glad to be back from 
''roughing it," and this was one time our little old Sibley 
tents spelled ''home." This hike, necessitating being en- 
tirely out of doors, sleeping on the hard ground and eating 
only what could be transported through the mountains, 
tended to harden us, and in a measure prepare us for the 
strenuous days to come. 


Receiving intensive training, not only in the use of the 
rifle, bayonet, grenades and such, but, with the idea of giv- 
ing the men every insight into the various phases of modern 
warfare, an elaborate system of trenches and dugouts were 
constructed four miles west of camp at what was known as 
"Berry's Pass" near Signal Mountain. The .evening of 
March 15th saw the regiment on its way out there, where 
for two days and nights the various units of the regiment 
experienced real trench life. Night attacks, patrols and 
raiding parties were executed, and here the men learned to 
conduct themselves properly during such occasions. With 
flares, rifle reports, grenade explosions, the scene was quite 
realistic in appearance. After we got over to France and in 
the real trenches and were meeting the enemy, some of the 

42 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

men would recall those nights spent in the trenches in Don- 
iphan, and would exclaim, ''That was an awful l)attle we 
fought down there in Doniphan those two nights." 

At last the longed for word has been announced. Tues- 
day, April 2nd, we w^ere notified to send home all surplus 
personal belongings and be prepared to move out of camp 
on an hour's notice. Everybody shouted for joy. All these 
cold, dark winter months we had worked hard, stood much, 
said little. We were doing it all in the hopes of soon getting 
out of canii) and away on our journey for ''Over There," 
where we would have a chance to show our worth in the real 
thing. The camp presented a busy scene the rest of the day. 
Every extra thing not wanted on trip was packed up and 
sent home. Things were straightened out in such shape 
that the casual observer would no doubt have thought a 
move was on at that particular day. 

Quoting excerpts from my diary : 

'^ April 8th to 14th. Everybody busy packing supplies and 
equipment. Division has commenced to entrain. Every 
day now can see troops leaving on trains. Everybody in 
high spirits. Last letters home are hurriedly written and 
good-byes said. Probably we little realize what we are leav- 
ing behind and going to meet in the near future. There are 
some among us who it is probably ordained will never return. 
The night of the 12th we received orders to entrain on the 
morrow. For days now we have been watching troop trains 
pull out headed eastward. It is an inspiring si^ht to see 
the boys as they wave good-bye and with such as, ' So-long 
fellows, see you over in France,' upon their lips. Thus our 
training days at Doniphan are at an end. Camp Doniphan, 
which has been our home for about seven months, is soon 
but a memory. Soon these old tents will stand vacant and 
barren. Now it is, ' Au Revoir.' We go, not knowing when 
we return." 



An orf;aiiizali()n (•()mj)()S(><l of Iwcnly-ci^iil iimsiciaiis, the 
''pride of ihv i-c^imont " as I he ])oys would say, first came 
into rxisiciice about August 5, H)17. Olero Hccson, of 
Hutcliinson, Kansas, and a musician of i-cputc, was early to 
perceive* the need of oi<2;anizin<;- a 
musical organization which should 
be re[)resenta(ive not only of his 
home town, but of Kansas as a whole. 
With this end in view, and an the 
National Guard units were being 
mobilized all over the State, he set 
about to organize a band, whi<'h in 
time proved to b(> the piide of the 
](*giment. Sending out a call for 
nuisicians, and at the same time 
visiting many towns in person, Mr. 
Beeson came in contact with various 
individuals who were musically in- 
clined, and among these he spent 
his time influencing them to join the Second Kansas (guards 
regiment and become members of the new band. Finally 
succeeding in getting together some twenty-eight musicians, 
the men enlisted and canu* to Hutchinson at th(> mobilization 
call on August 5, 11)17, and work was soon under way. With 
Oteio Beeson as header, and Lou W. Fink as assistant leadei', 
work commenced. Rehearsals were held daily, and included 
mornings and afternoons. Under the guiding baton of As- 

LicrT. T.ou W. Fink, 

44 Rcniinisccnccs of the lollh U. S. Infafitnj 

sistant Leader Fink, who is a inii.sician of the first wafer and 
well known fhioughout fhe West as a versatile player, rapid 
results were obtained from these strenuous rehearsals, and 
soon the Second Kansas Band made its debut to the public. 
Hutchinson was the first place accorded the privilege of hear- 
ing this organization, and from the first concert- on through 
and until the unit returned from France, she took just 
pride in ''her band." Our first lessons in military drill and 
formations were supervised by Major Fred Lenunon, who 
later proved one of our most able supporters and admirers. 

Awaiting orders to move to a concentration point, the 
band took to the road, and concerts were given in Wichita, 
Hutchinson, Great Bend, Newton, Dodge City, McPherson, 
Greensburg, and other places. At each place, a royal re- 
ception was accorded the boys, and they were acknowledged 
as the ''best ever heard." Due to these excursions, a "band 
fund" came into existence, and through the receipts of these 
concerts nuisic and other necessary equipment wei'e purchased. 

Leaving Hutchinson with Headquarters Company on Sep- 
tem})er 29, 1917, we proc(HHled to and arrived at Doniphan, 
where our strenuous life conmienced. When the consolida- 
tion of the two Kansas regiments took place, the Second 
Kansas Band became the representative musical organization 
of the new 137th Infantry. The First Kansas Band was 
transferred to the 110th Engineers. Our first appearance as 
the 137th Infantry Band in concert was given in the city 
of Lawton Sunday, October 2, 1917. This has been de- 
scribed in another chapter. From our organization, and on 
thr(fugh twenty months of service, we played at various 
functions both military and civil, and according to data in 
my diary we performed the following service : Concerts, 180 ; 
retreats, 75; funerals, 13; reveilles, 66; rehearsals, 160; 
parades and inspections, 57. 

The 137th Injunlru Band 45 

This jrives \\\v I'oador ;i hi\v idvii of vvhiit the ()rj;anizM(i()n 
(lid and how our time was oecupied. Alon^- with our baud (hi- 
ties, we also underwent training and instruction in hos- 
pital work, such as ''stretcher-beai-ing and first aid to the 
w^ound(Hl." Although interesting work, it became quite mo- 
notonous, and we all longed to get across to France where 
we could be given a chance of actual experience along this 
line. On November 12th, all members had to subject them- 
selves to a stringent physical examinatioii, and it was at 
this stage that we lost our leader, Otero Beeson. I^ou Fink, 
better known as, ''Sousa the Second," now took charge of 
the band, and under his tutelage it developed into one of 
the best, if not the best, in camp. Later on, after reaching 
France, we acquired the reputation of being one of the 
snappiest, staccato-playing bands in the A. E. F. It was 
this kick and snap that bandmaster Fink instill(Ml into his 
men that caused us to receive wide herald as ''one snappy, 
kicking, military band." 

We played our first Brigade inspection on Tuesday, De- 
cember 4th, and herc^ it was we learned the trials and gi-iefs 
of an army bandsman. It was so cold we found it diflficult 
to keep our instruments from freezing, and we stood out 
there on "no-man's-land" for two hours playing the inspec- 
tion crew merrily on their way. Referring to that song, 

"And the hardest blow of all 
Is to hear the bugle call, 
You got to get up, etc.," 

was no mild saying. Each morning we were awakened, and 
as the heartrending appeal of the bugle rent the air we fell 
out with instruments and promenaded down the regimental 
street playing such favorite airs as, ''Khaki Bill," "Oh, 
Johnny," "Where Do We Go From Here?" etc. It was a 

46 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

great life. Many times, in order to keep the instruments 
from freezing, ''first aid" bandages were applied, and the in- 
struments from the clarinet to the helicon, were swathed in 
dressing. About this time little Dan ''Cupid" was attempt- 
ing to manipulate his enticing snares,, and the first victim 
from our midst was our versatile solo clarinet player. Ser- 
geant DiNino, who, entering the mystic realms of light, took 
imto himself for better or for worse a better portion of this 
human race. Many nights thereafter, we assisted the "un- 
fortunate" in blowing away his newly acquired troubles in 
wreaths of deep, hazy smoke-curls emanating from perfectly 
good "matrimonial cigars." 

Would to the gods of fate that the public who often heard 
us in concert could be in our midst during our rehearsal 
hours. There was in truth a "great gnashing of teeth," 
and at times we poor mortals w(;re garbed in "sackcloth and 
ashes." Bandmaster Fink, much like the average musician 
of a higher school, was propelled ])y that designated "musi- 
cal temperament," and at times it played havoc with our 
retreating ranks. Truly, during those days wc could not 
report "Everything quiet on our front," as some awful bar- 
rages were put over. It did not go without effect, for, due 
to these temperamental guidances, we learned what was ex- 
pected of us, and whenever we sat down to play we placed 
the best we had before the audience. Leader Fink's watch- 
word was, "Practice," and he admonished us daily, yea, 
almost hourly, to seek the hidden recesses of our little 
canvas tents and there do communion with our instruments. 
On Sundays, we assisted the regimental Chaplain at church 
services, playing song accompaniments and rendering other 
appropriate music. This proved a great help to the Chap- 
lain, and our meetings were always well attended and en- 

The 137th Infantry Band 49 

joyed by the boys. On December 19th we played our first 
iiiihtary funeral, which was conducted from the post aviation 
field to the depot at Fort Sill. With the band in lead and 
the carriage following, Chopin's Funeral Dirge was played, 
and upon reaching the depot a short service was held by 
the Chaplain, the band played softly ''Nearer My God to 
Thee," and as the firing squad was called to attention a 
salute of three volleys was fired and the bugler sounded 
''Taps." The services were always impressive. 

Christmas day proved a buvsy time for the band, as we 
played during the hour of feasting, and also two concerts 
that afternoon. During one Saturday inspection, the band 
was drawn up with instruments in position awaiting the 
arrival of the much feared inspector. Our instruments, 
which had been cleaned and polished up to a degree, shown 
brightly until we were called out for the inspection. A hard 
north wind was blowing and the dirt and sand was sifting 
through the ozone at fifty per. We stood thus in ranks for 
an hour, subject to dust, sand and wind. When the in- 
spector finally arrived, we came to a smart "attention" and 
the ordeal commenced. Stopping first before one and then 
the other, Mr. Inspector, casting a "wicked eye" at the in- 
strument in hand and then to each individual, remarked in 
sarcastic tone, "A fine looking horn; don't you ever clean 
the thing? You look like a bunch of rookies." That was 
bad enough ; but when he stopped before our venerable 
leader and looking first at the bass drum in his possession 
and then at the person of the individual, remarked, "Huh, 
don't you have enough pride in your band to see that the 
instruments are cleaned once in a while? Look at that bass 
drum ; see the dirt around the rim? What's that you have 
around the back of your head — a breeching? Rather rook- 

50 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

ish." There we had stood in the wind and dirt for over an 
hour, and were forced to Hsten to such an overture from an 
individual who in all probability could not tell a clarinet 
from a gas alarm. We were also disgusted in the fact that 
he, an officer, a Major, could not recognize a '^real soldier" 
when he saw one. That old saying rang true, ''You're in 
the army now and not behind the plow." About this time 
the band was equipped with ''45" automatics, and certain 
days were devoted to pistol practice. It proved interesting, 
and we became quite adept with the "Lugger." 

Several times during our camp life, the band, in conjunc- 
tion with the hospital corps, spent several nights out in the 
trenches west of camp, where we received as actual field in- 
struction in aiding and caring for the wounded as could be 
had six thousand miles from the battle line. Sending a 
squad of would-be wounded out upon the plain to there lay 
down and "play possum," we were sent out from the trench 
dressing stations some of the darkest nights experienced, and 
without aid of light were required to locate these wounded, 
dress whatever wound was apparent, and bring them in to 
the dressing station. It proved very interesting — especially 
with no gun-fire about. 

Our time of departure was now drawing near, and prepara- 
tions were under way. Having been issued band instru- 
ments by the government, we packed and shipped home all 
personal property, such as instruments, clothing, music, etc. 
Our training amid the environs of a camp was about to end. 
We had now become broken in to the military life and felt 
more or less like veterans. Our time had been devoted to 
hospital work, concerts, guard mounts, playing funerals, 
church services, reveilles, retreats, and in a general way pro- 
viding entertainment for the boys. We were now a well 

The 137th Infantry Band 51 

organized musical unit, and were ready for foreign climes 
and audiences. 

We left Doniphan on same train with Headquarters Com- 
pany and Regimental and Brigade Headquarters. En route 
east, and while various stops were made, we livened matters 
by ''jazzing," in .he various towns in which we stopped. 
During our stay at Camp Mills, we took part in the Third 
Liberty Loan campaign, playing six short concerts in as 
many towns on Long Lsland in the space of one evening. We 
were accompanied by two Canadian soldiers who acted as 
speakers of the occasion. Urgent requests had been re- 
ceived that the 137th Band come over to New York City to 
play, but all appeals were turned down in order to give all 
the boys an opportunity to visit and see the various places of 
interest l)efoie going across to France. Our time was spent 
in seeing the big metropolis, some going to New York, either 
A. W. O. L. or otherwise, some to Washington, others to 
Philadelphia to visit friends or relatives, and for a time the 
organization was scattered out over considerable area. Those 
were great days in truth. We made the best of our last few 
hours in the good old U. S. A. Our trip across has been de- 
scribed in another chapter, but in addition might add that 
though the submarines and other undersea dangers lurked 
amid the entwining folds of green water, there was much 
music and merriment aboard the huge ship which was bear- 
ing us onward to our destination. Concerts were given 
daily, and as we had a goodly number of the ''fairer sex" 
aboard, a great number of dances were given by "officers 
only." The poor doughboy, who stood below watching the 
"syncopated promenade" up there on the upper deck, felt 
no doubt a little envy at the monopoly. Had it not been 
that we were the manipulators of the tantalizing airs, we, 

52 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

too, would have been gazing upward wondering who would 
obtain the next dance. Our hearts are with and for the 
"doughboy," for, being one, it could not be otherwise. 

Coming into the harbor of Liverpool, England, everybody 
was out on deck, and it was then Sousa's "Stars and Stripes 
Forever" predominated. We let the natives know that the 
137th had arrived upon the scene, and we made no bones 
about it. Passing over England was a matter of two days, 
and the evening of the second day we boarded the steamer 
and were on our way across the channel, arriving at Le Havre 
the following morning. 

For days following we saw neither thread nor glitter of in- 
struments, and it was not until we had arrived at our pre- 
scribed destination at Bethancourt sur Mer that wq again 
took up our duties. 

Our first concert before a foreign audience occurred on 
Monday afternoon. May 13, 1918, out on the village street 
before the steps of the ancient little village church in Bethan- 
court sur Mer, France. The audience was composed of 
Americans, British, and French soldiers and civilians. It 
was a strange conglomeration of races and creeds. We 
found the French very enthusiastic over classical music, and 
they seemed to be well versed in the various scores. Billeted 
in an old dance hall in the rear of a French cafe, we devoted 
considerable time to i-ehearsing and preparing new piograms. 
The cafe was owned by a kindly old Frenchwoman, who as time 
went on became veiy attached to the band. She did every- 
thing possible to make oiu' lot more ehdui'ing, and we came 
to look upon hei- as a mothei'. In fact, we called her mother 
(in French) and this sentiment pleased her highly. When 
we left this little village, she felt very sad, and asked us if 
it were not possible to come back sometime and visit there. 

The mrth Infantry Band 53 

During our stay here with the EngHsh soldiers, with whom 
the regiment was in training, a certain enmity arose between 
the two factions. It came to such a head that the "Yank" 
longed to get a ''set-to" with some "Bloody" Englishman^ 
and there were several skirmishes on our front during these 
days. Some proved quite interesting. On Decoration Day 
we played three concerts in the villages where units of the 
regiment were billeted, and at each place Chaplain Wark 
made stirring patriotic addresses. 

Again we took up first aid work and gas drill, as we had 
now l)een issued the regulation gas masks. We were now 
observing all the rules of a modern camj) — inspections, 
drills, concerts, reveilles, retreats, and other necessary evils 
borne by a soldier. Leaving this area on June 0th with the 
regiment, we hiked overland to an entraining point. From 
thence on for several days we went into obscurity in French 
box cars, sleepy old villages, along quaint old country roads, 
marching under full packs under the broiling summer sun, 
with sore l)acks, blistered feet, and a (U^cided longing for 
home, sweet home. 

We made our next appearance at a little village called 
Hadol. Here we went into billet and received our final equip- 
ment for the trenches. While here more concerts and re- 
hearsals were in order. Leaving Hadol in trucks, June 24th, 
we arrived after a long, tedious journey, over in Alsace and 
billeted at the town of Odei'an. From hei-e the regiment 
went into the trenches, leaving the l)and behind. Our \m\wi^ 
were })lasted. We were not to take active part in trench 
life after all. The only experience to be accorded us came 
from our volunteering during stated times for service up in 
the trenches. As part of the regiment was back in reserve, 
we were kept busy entertaining the boys; and aside from 

54 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Lnfantry 

this, we gave concerts in the various villages in the valley. 
We found the Alsatians very friendly and kind, and they 
appreciated our concerts immensely. Moving up to the 
neighboring village of Kruth, the l)alance of regiment went 
up into the trenches, which left the band alone. We now 
had our own kitchen and mess. One of the band members 
assumed control of the ^'cuisine/' and in this capacity old 
'^ Bob," the faithful, concocted some real dishes. The beauti- 
ful scenery, the wonderful sunshine (rainy season not yet at 
hand), the clear atmosphere, made us feel as though we were 
enjoying the healthful benefits of some summer resort. War 
was fai' from our thoughts, and as this sector was a rather 
(juiet one, no one, not even the boys down in the trenches, 
thought about other than enjoying themselves. The alert 
time came during the night hours, when pati'ols and raiding 
parties became busy. Now as I look back upon that time 
spent down in beautiful Alsace, I find a certain longing, a 
certain desire to again enjoy some of those times — the same 
crowd, the same conditions, the same environments. Those 
were not bad days, as all must agree. It was a summer 
outing. Latei* on we came face to face with war and its hard- 

July 4th has been described in another chapter, so we 
must pass on. Sunday, July 14th, "Bastille Day," was cel- 
ebrated in real fashion, and this time the Americans acted 
as hosts to the French. In order to describe more fully the 
events of the day I quote from my personal diary as follows : 

''A beautiful day intensified. Silver waves run over the 
barley in the summer breeze, over the poppy l^ank that 
bounds the fields, where the ruffling of the flowers intensifies 
the richness of their scarlet masses. On the other side of 
the field the broad stream curves past the ranks of willow 

The 137th Infantry Band 55 

herbs, that soon will break to purple pink of bloom, and tall 
hemp agrimonies which will put forth i-osy flowers for the 
gay butterflies of August. The gaudy dragon-flies hawk in- 
satiably over the waterside herbage, and the swallows of the 
windmill towers, that dart bluely up and down the stream, 
often turn away to that gentle slope of barley and skim 
back and forth between the water and the vivid l^ank of 
poppies. Thus you obtain a fair description of Alsace on 
this day. 

"Where we are behind the hues, a big celebration is en- 
joyed by all off duty. Last night the band was over to a 
large Allied hospital, where we gave a concert for the pa- 
tients, and afterward played at a banquet in honor of visit- 
ing Generals. Of course, we band fellows got in on the feed. 
We spent that night in a hospital ward. Had much sport 
out of the situation. Here we lay, twenty-eight healthy, 
strapping fellows all tucked away in beds in a hospital ward, 
and not a thing the matter with us. The following morn- 
ing we arose before the camp was awake, and assembling 
out on the green plaza played several livel}^ airs, and in 
this manner awakened the slumbering ones, and conse- 
quently ushered in the big da}^ which is observed all over 

"At ten o'clock we participated in a big parade. The 
band in the lead, followed by troops of three nations, the 
United States, France and Italy, we drew up in the public 
square before the city hall. Here the ceremonies of the day 
were to be enacted. This day, those who had during the 
past year lost any relative of the immediate family, to them 
would be tendered a certificate of honor. A high French 
officer delivered a stirring address in French. Of course, we 
could not understand all he said, but judging by his ges- 
tures, forceful accents, and the tears of the many in mourn- 
ing, I feel justified in saying th(^ above. Aftei' the address, 
names of those who had lost a father, brother, son or hus- 
band, were read, and as each name was called a mother, 
sister, or wife in deep mourning would advance to where 
the French officer stood, and the lattei-, offering a few words 

56 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

of condolence, would present a certificate. During one par- 
ticular presentation, he held on high three certificates, and, 
pointing to a tired, weary little woman in black, announced 
that during the past year this mother had lost three sons on 
the field of . battle. Never will I forget the look on that 
tired, careworn little mother's face as she received those 
honor rolls, memories of her three departed sons ; and this 
was all she had left to console her through the hours of grief 
and trial ahead. I say to you that one had to be there and 
witness in person the many tragedies of the home that were 
constantly being borne. As I stood there with and among 
that vast throng, I would look out over the masses and but 
one pertinent thought came to mind ; everywhere I beheld 
people in mourning who for the past four years had been 
offering their all for principles which today are of the utmost 
importance to all the free peoples of the world. The scar 
that had been caused by the enemy was seen ))y the many 
American mothers' sons. It could not but leave its imj^res- 
sion. When the Americans took to the trenches, it was 
with a certain remembrance of all this, and partially at least 
was the cause of their tenacity and aggressiveness in meet- 
ing the enemy. They thought of their own homes, their 
mothers, sisters and sweethearts, and were glad that they 
liad come over in defense of them and the world at large." 

That evening the band was invited to a little gathering 
presided over by some American and French officers in one 
of the village cafes. As we sat there listening to speeches 
from both parties, an old padre (Father), who had once 
served as a chaplain for a famous French regiment, arose 
and in clear French tendei-ed a stirring toast to the brave 
Americans. His aged voice, though somewhat shaky and 
feel)le, claimed a certain fii*e and emotion, and we could not 
but feel the sincerity of his words. An interpreter after- 
wards translated his speech, and, let it be said, it proved to 
be one of the most beautiful tributes to the cause of arms 

The 137th Jnfanfri/ n<in<} 57 

that was ever heard. Just before we adjourned an American 
officer ai'ose and suggested that we give the well known Kan- 
sas cheer, the famous ''Hock Chalk" cry. It was rendered 
to the man. Thus Bastille da^^ was celebrated. 

July 22nd we left with regiment and proceeded over the 
mountain to La Bresse, and here we enjoyed the best billet 
ever accorded during our stay in France. We lived in a 
chateau owned l)y a rich French nobleman. This chateau^ 
surrounded l)y a high stone fence, is likencnl lo souk^ large, 
w(41 kept park, with its artificial lake, the swans, the summer 
playhouse of the children, the lilacs, and th(^ roses. It was 
beautiful. On August 5th we left for Remiremont, Epinal 
and Bains les Bains, a French summer resort and baths. We 
were gone a week on this concert trip, and as it was the first 
time we had been in real civilization since we came over, we 
had a wonderful time. We were the first American musicians to 
a[)pear in concert in Epinal, and no sooner had we arrived 
upon the scene than word was spread broadcast that, "Les 
musicians Americains '' were in the city. We played two con- 
certs here, one in the city park in the afternoon and one in the 
evening, and at both occasions thousands crowded to hear us. 

On this trip, we met many of the best people and were in- 
troduced to real French life of the upper class. Some of 
these acquaintances have been kept up to the present time, 
and not a few letters are being exchanged these days. Re- 
turning to regiment August 10th, we found a move in oj^cmii- 
tion and h^ft the following day and proceeded by trucks up 
the mountain to Le CV)llet. Here th(^ band went into bilh^l 
with part of regiment, while the remainder occupied the 
trenches in the Gashney sector. 

While here in this sector, we had the pleasure of having 
in our midst what turned out to be our next Governor of 

58 nofiinisccnces of the 137th XL *S. Infantry 

Kansas, namely, Henry J. Allen, who was representing the 
Y. M. C. A., and had come up here to the trenches to place 
a canteen and serve the boys. It felt most good to see an 
individual from Kansas in our midst, and as Mr. Allen was 
well known to all the boys, it made them ^'sorta feel" closer 

Again we were amid the beautiful mountain scenery, and 
our billets, situated far in among the tall pine trees, were 
well sheltered from enemy observation. Numerous concerts 
were given here among the tall overhanging trees far up the 
side of the mountain, and for a time we had the pleasure of 
having a French infantry band stationed there with us, and 
we alternated in giving concerts. Bandmaster Fink, who 
had gone to Paris to take his musical examination qualifying 
for a commission, now returned. A new order had made 
its appearance, which provided commissions to bandmasters, 
and all bands to be increased to fifty pieces, augmented by a 
bugle and drum corps. However, as '^Lou" was prejudiced 
against l)reaking in any new musicians, our band was not 
increased, but, with a few minor changes, we held the 
same roster throughout and worked to better results in this 
manner. As was often told us, ''It's not the number in a 
band that makes it go, it's what every man does, and a good 
band of thirty pieces is far better than a mediocre organiza- 
tion with some deadheads in it." 

On September 2nd we left with regiment, and again we 
beg to go into obscurity for obvious reasons. We appeared 
again after passing the St. Mihiel drive, our instruments 
having been placed in store at Nancy, and we were not to 
see them for several weeks. We were now up in a sub-portion 
of the Argonne Woods, and during the drive seven of us 
band boys volunteered to accompany the regiment up to 

The 137th Injtnilru Bant/ 59 

the' lines. The entire band desired to go up, but we wei-e 
the ''hicky ones." During the six days our division partici- 
pated in the drive we ''got our systems full," as they say. 
For three days we were compelled to walk guard fifty yards 
in front of two ''155's" which were blasting away at the 
German lines. The noise was something terrific, and as 
each gun would go off a hot breath would vomit up against 
our pei-sons, and at times the impact would almost take us 
off our feet. Dui-ing the times we were relieved we would 
scout around liei-e and there up by the lines, seeing as much 
as possible and helping out where we could. We aided a 
number of wounded, and in other ways made ourselves use- 
ful. It was in truth a real experience. As water and food 
were scarce, we ate and drank what we could, ransacking old 
dugouts and abandoned kitchens in attempts to locate some- 
thing eata])le. Had it not been for the Salvation Army 
(blessings upon them), many of the l)oys would no doubt 
have weakened much more than they did. The first women 
seen up close to the firing line and under actual shell-fire 
were three Salvation Army lassies, who, as soon as the town 
of Cheppy was taken, immediately entered, and, locating an 
old rusty stove, set same up against the wall of a partially 
destroyed barn and commenced serving coffee and dough- 
nuts. There is not an ex-doughboy who has been overseas 
that doesn't praise this organization from the ground up. 

To this day the seven of us who were with th(^ regiment 
up in the battle, are most thankful we had an opportunity to 
be up there where the biggest drive in all history took place. 
The next seen of us is in a little village called Rembercourt. 
Here the regiment rested up after the drive. Our instru- 
ments were now conveyed from Nancy, and concerts were 
again in order. During our stay later on in the Somme 

60 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

Dieue sector, we lost two of our premier nmsicians, who were 
assigned to the big A. E. F. band. This cut our morale 
considerably, but we had to make the best of it. We now 
added four new musicians to our roster, who were taken from 
the ranks. 

During our stay in this sector, the writer, along with one 
of the medical sergeants, realizing a rest cure was needed, 
obtained pass to a hospital down in the southern portion of 
France, and there did betake ourselves. While here the 
armistice was signed and hostilities ceased. The evening 
of the great day, several of us there at the hospital organized 
an improvised band and, aided by some old French instru- 
ments found thereabout, and augmenting our ranks with a 
few French erstwhile musicians, we staged a big parade that 
evening, followed by inmates of the hospital, cripples, con- 
valescents, crutches, wheel carts, and the inhabitants of the 
town assisting. It was a spectacular event. 

On our way back to rejoin regiment, which was somewhere 
up north, we stopped off for a week's ''visit" in ''gay Paree." 
In our haste, we had neglected to register or receive official 
permit to be there; but no doubt the Provost-Marshal, 
realizing that we were special guests to the metropolis, per- 
mitted us to live there unmolested for six days, enjoying our 
existence in the gayest city in the world. As the armistice 
had been signed, Paris had emerged from four years of gloom 
and darkness and was now in wild throes of celebration. 
Some days later, we left Paris in a General's Winton Six 
and, riding across country (a fourteen-hour trip), we arrived 
back with the regiment, which was now located at Sampigny. 
The "battle of Sampigny" has been described in another 
chapter. What time the band spent there was occupied in 
concert, rehearsal, playing guard mounts, inspections, pa- 

The 137th Infantry Band 61 

rades, and other functions. Many times it was quite taxing 
to get out there on that barren plain above the Meuse 
Valley, and, during a bitter rain or snow, play parades. It 
was ''Valley Forge" in remaking. About this time the 
various divisions were organizing troupe shows and enter- 
tainment companies, and commenced touring throughout 
the various divisions. The 35th Division organized one 
such, and the 137th Band was chosen to accompany this or- 
ganization. Our first rehearsals were held in the town of 
St. Mihiel, which not so long ago had been in German hands. 
Leaving here after a few days, the entire troupe, with band, 
numbering sixty-five players in all, went to Commercy, and 
for several weeks shows were given in the town opera house 
to the units of our division. At stated intervals the band 
would be called to Sampigny to play a parade or concert for 
the boys. Leaving Commercy after several weeks' stay, w(^ 
commenced our tour. We played under many trying con- 
ditions, giving shows in large unheated aviation hangars, 
sleeping in the same, and eating wherever possible. We 
played in Toul for a week, and enjoyed this particular stay to 
a degree, as this was a real American place and many real 
honest to goodness American girls here. This was some- 
thing new to us. 

Taking a 175-kilometer journey in open trucks through 
the dead of winter up into Luxemburg, via the city of Metz, 
we arrived at the German city of Esch, where we remained 
a week, giving shows for the units of the 5th Division. From 
here we returned to Commercy via train, and two days later 
left for our biggest engagement, namely, Paris. We re- 
mained in Paris a week, giving shows and concerts at the 
famous hall of former kings and dukes, the ''Palaise de 
Glace." The second day of our stay here we staged a large 

62 Rerniniscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

and spectacular '^minstrel parade," and offered the Parisians 
a real thrill. Marching down the beautiful boulevards of 
the Champs de Elyssees and over the ''Place de la Concorde," 
followed by hundreds of gayly dressed mademoiselles and 
others, we ''jazzed" as perhaps we had not done for some 
time ; and the Paris folk liked it and called for more. This 
was the first parade of its kind ever staged in the beautiful 
capital of France, and of course Kansas was there introduc- 
ing something new. We had a most wonderful time here, 
visiting many places of interest and beholding many "shock- 
ing" episodes. A peculiar city this. Leaving Paris we next 
appeared at St. Nazaire. Here we first saw transports 
leaving for home, sweet home, and envied the "lucky ones." 
From here we rejoined regiment down in the Le Mans area, 
where they had come preparatory to embarking. We had 
been out some twelve weeks, touring all over France and a 
portion of Germany, and had seen and learned much of in- 
terest. We were glad to be back among our native clan. 
As the boys of the regiment had not heard their band for 
weeks, our time was well occupied in concert work. We par- 
ticipated in a three-day athletic and band competition meet 
at Le Mans, and among the twenty-two bands competing 
we took first prize in field music and marching and rankted 
among the first in concert work. We had the smallest band 
of the assemblage, but we claimed the snap and pep which 
carried us through. After arriving at Brest, we played nu- 
merous concerts and presided at a reception given in a 
famous chateau by a French countess. This was an elabo- 
rate affair and was highly interesting, as we were here in- 
troduced to some of "society's best," whatever that is. 

The day preceding our embarking we played at the docks 
for the homegoing units. Following day we were aboard 

The 137th Infantry Band 63 

ship, and the homeward journey commenced. We gave 
daily concerts on the boat, playing for the men, officers, and 
the welfare workers aboard. Arriving in Hoboken we were 
soon at Camp Upton. As our casuals were there being de- 
tached from the regiment and left by companies for their 
various camps, we played them merrily on their way. On 
our trip out to Kansas, we paraded and played in Washing- 
ton, D. C, St. Louis, and other places where short stops were 
made. Our last appearance as a band occurred in Topeka, 
Kansas, the day of the big parade. Those who were there 
heard the now famous 137th Infantry Band for the last time. 
The last number we played together was the song "Home- 
ward Bound," which was in bearing with the occasion. At 
Funston, we bade farewell to our intimate friends, from the 
drum to the clarinet, and at this very time, perhaps, our 
once faithful friends are reposing in some government sal- 
vage pile awaiting their "master's voice." 

We had now turned in our old standbys which had fur- 
nished so much entertainment on so many occasions; had 
played before some of the titled heads in England, France, 
and to the doughboys far over in Germany ; but now — well, 
Mr. Conn, we want you to know that we have appreciated 
your past endeavors to put out an instrument which to us 
had ever been a steady companion, and now — come and get 
'em. They are peacefully slumbering upon some salvage 
pile "somewhere" in the heart of America, dreaming of the 
days when they played before the blooded set of Europe and 
they were accorded such attention and appreciation. We 
cannot go on ; a lump rises to our throat ; our eyes become 
dim with dew, and hot tears streak our weatherbeaten 
cheeks. It is enough. So now, Mr. Conn, wherever thou 
art, hear us as we say : We have used the product of thy 


R c mini see nces of the 137th U. S. Infautnj 

hands nigh unto eighteen months, and are now returning 
them forthwith a httle battered and bent, but still retaining 
that exuberance of tone and color so inherent in barrage- 
playing instruments ; come and get 'em ! 

In reverence to the memory of the late Harry Watson, of 
Hutchinson, who was ever a close friend and admirer of our 
band, we desire to add that his famous piece, ''Khaki Bill," 
was accepted and used as our official regimental march, and 
this selection occupied its place on every program rendered 
both here in the States and over in France, and wherever it 
was heard special mention and often a request for its repeti- 
tion was extended. 


E. M. Olson 
W. G. Sheffer 
H. McFadden 
R. Steffleback 
W. Wesley 
J. Kincaid 
R. Chambers 


F. V. DiNino 
C. E. Palmer 
R. J. Glezen 
M. G. Sinton 

H. W. Lichtenberger 
A. Westergard 

G. L. Huffine 
H. W. Davis 

Dru7n Major. 
F. C, Palmer 


Pand Master. 

Lieutenant Lou W. Fink 

Assistant Leader. 

Ernest M. Olson 

C. E. Haterius 
S. A. Reynolds 
R. Rude 
F. A. McGehe 

D. F. Innes 
C. D. Young 
C. Steriing 
C. Truex 

Piccolo, Flute. 
J. Fink 


C. A. Bagbv 

J. Heck 

R. A. McGrew 

M. G. Sinton 
J. D. Baer 
R. Braithwaite 

H. E. Eash 

C. W. Hawkinson 

L. W. Fink 

W. G. Sheffer 
A. Bishop 
C. E. Haterius 


D. Shehi 

E. A. Norton 
A. Bishop 

Sergt. Bugler. 
P. L. Black 



Saturday morning, Apiil 13, 1918, we wero up at an early 
hour, fixing packs, folding up our cots, and tui'ning in all 
such equipment which would remain in camp. Old man Plu- 
vius was kind to us for once. Whereas almost an unheard 
of incident, was rain, on this particular morning it came in 
torrents. Although the day was lone, dark and dreary, not 
so the spirits of the men. Everybody seemed overjoyed 
that now he was going to get away from camp. Assembling 
about eight o'clock, and after check was taken, and with one 
last look around our old habitat, we slung packs and started 
for the train. Arriving at entraining point we were ushered 
into what proved to be luxurious "Pullman sleepers." We 
were to ride three men to each compartment, which provided 
two for the lowTr berth and one for the upper. We had our 
own kitchen-car, from whence details brought the mess 
through the various cars. The kitchen was operated by our 
own cooks. We pulled out of camp at exactly 10 a. m., and 
thus our long journey commenced. Guards were placed at 
every door of the cars, and in this way insuring no unwar- 
ranted exits during any of the stops. Passing through the 
wilds of Oklahoma, we reached St. Louis, where a two-hour 
stop was made. Here we staged a half-hour's march through 
some of the streets in the " Nigga District." We needed the 
exercise. There was a great crowd down at the station, and 
they gave us a warm reception. Our pai'ticular route took 
us thiough Illinois, Indiana and Oliio. It was a beautiful 
trip, and we enjoyed it immensely. We arrived at Hobo- 


66 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

ken April 16th, and proceeded by ferry over to Long Island 
and took trains to Camp Mills. Here we were assigned to 
tents — eight men to each tent. Part of Second and Third 
Battalions had come east by a northern route up around 
Niagara and had seen much of interest. 

It was ordained that we remain in Camp Mills nine days, 
during which time it rained continually, and the camp was 
a sea of mud and water. The atmosphere was far different 
from that of the Central States. The sea breezes, which 
were chilly and moist, were not to our liking, but we had to 
adjust ourselves to these new conditions, as we were to spend 
several days while crossing the ocean in just such clime. 

While here at Mills, twenty-four-hour passes to New York 
City were granted the men, and thus our time was spent in 
sightseeing and becoming acquainted with the "effete East." 
It was during these visits to the big metropolis that members 
of our division drew unusual attention from the Eastern in- 
habitants. As ours was the only division wearing the chin 
straps on our campaign hats, we received the name, the 
"Cowboy Division." For a time we were looked upon with 
suspicion, as some of the Eastern folk, who had never been 
out West, had read of Indians and cowboys which inhabited 
the West and made life so thrilling and exciting out there ; 
naturally they took us for desperate characters. Score one 
for the breech-strap! Due to these numerous visits to the 
big burg, pocketbooks suffered quite a relapse in proportions, 
and the wires between Camp Mills and Kansas were kept 
busy transmitting requests for money. Surely those at home 
•responded to this new war loan most admirably! 


At 3 : 30 A. M. April 25th we rolled packs and left camp for 
the transports in the harbor of New York. Arriving at the 

Off f 07' France 67 

docks, we entered the Customs House and there checked off, 
and tickets designating our bunk, number of mess and Hfe- 
boat were distributed. There was no crowd down to bid us 
farewell and Godspeed. The only civilians around the docks 
and boats were a few secret service men in plain clothes. 
Our movements were surrounded with the utmost secrecy. 
The transports making up our convoy were the Baltic, 
Karmala, Aeneas, Carona, Teutonic, and the Adriatic, which 
was to be under escort of a large cruiser. Headquarters 
Company, Sanitary Corps and Band, with regimental head- 
quarters were on the Baltic; Supply Company on Adriatic; 
Machine Gun Company on Aeneas; Companies '^A," "B," 
''C/' on Karmala; '^E," ''F/' ''G^' on Aeneas; '^D" and 
^'H" Companies on Caronia; ''I" Company on Teutonic; 
"K" Company on Adriatic; with ''L" and ^'M" Companies 
on Baltic. 

As we filed over the gang-plank, the cheering was lacking, 
but the thrill was there. Although we felt and realized the 
parting meant away from home, friends and country, no 
one knew for how long, still, as we crossed that gang- 
plank and stepped aboard those huge monsters of the deep 
there was a certain feeling of adventure about it all which 
more or less appealed to us. We were desirous to know 
what the future held in store, and as young-spirited disciples 
we craved not a little excitement. No sooner were we on 
board than such remaks as, '^Hope we see some submarines 
on this trip; like to see what they look like!" were heard. 
That 's the American Yank every time. No matter how great 
the danger or excitement, lie wants to be right there. 

Towards evening, mooi'ings were cast and some little tugs 
hooked to the big floating structure, backed out in the 
Hudson River, and turning nose toward the open sea, our 

68 Reminiscences of the 137th IJ. S. Infantry 

voyage commenced. As we pulled out of the harbor no one 
was allowed on deck. As our ships were camouflaged from 
stem to stern, so were the decks as we set to sea. No one 
standing upon shore must know that there were troops on 
these ships bound for France. We slunk sway like thieves 
in the night. Secrecy and silence the watchwords. After 
passing Quarantine, we were allowed out on deck. No en- 
emy spies this far out. As we thus stood on deck while the 
sun was slowly sinking to rest beneath the western horizon, 
we beheld the land of our birth slowly fade from view. It 
was then we bade our last and final farewell to home and all, 
and set our faces eastward. Twelve months were to elapse 
until we again beheld this land of the free and the home of 
the brave, and then manj^ of us would be among the absent. 

The first few days of our voyage found the sea calm and 
quite to the liking, l)ut we were not to be dismissed from the 
aquatic zone of operations without a taste, an introduction 
to the Water God's temperament. For two days the sea 
was so rough it was hard for the khaki landlubbers to find 
equilibrium, let alone gauging their '4nner calculations." 
A number })ecame rather sea-sick and did ''at ease" over 
the rail. "As you were!" was entirely out of the question. 

Our convoy took a zig-zag course most of the way, and 
due to this we covered many extra miles. The men were 
under orders to wear life-belts at all times while on deck, 
and boat drills were of daily occurrence. No lights of any 
kind were allowed on deck at night ; not even a lighted cig- 
arette went. Every precaution was taken to insure conceal- 
ment from any enemy lurking near. The first few nights it 
gave one a rather "spooky feeling" to go out upon the 
dark deck and, looking down over the rail, l)ehold the dark 
background of fathoms of deep water. We were not 

Ofl for France 69 

"nerves," but did think it would be rather cold down there 
in the water. Passing around the coast of Ireland we en- 
tered into the danger zone proper. It was a known fact 
that many enemy submarines infested the Irish Sea. Here, 
upon awakening one morning and looking out, we beheld 
scores of little sub-chasers, which had come out and joined 
us during the night. There were sixteen in all, and it was 
quite a sight to stand and watch these little boats zig-zag 
back and forth among the ti-ansports, sometimes running far 
ahead, first in one direction and then another. 

As we stood and watched them busily skirting over the 
water, in quest of something they to all appearances could 
not find, it reminded one of the times spent in hunting with 
the ''pack." How the hounds would skurry hither and 
thither, in and out among the bushes, eagerly in quest of 
the coveted prey. One day out fi'om Livei-pool we were 
accorded a thrilling sight. A little ahead of our steaming 
convoy was seen a suspicious looking object, much like the 
top of a periscope. This led to quick action on the part of 
our little sub-chasers. These small watch-dogs of the sea 
steamed full ahead, at times almost clearing the water, and 
gathering in from all sides, closed together ; suddenly a ter- 
rific explosion i-ent the air, and the water at the particular 
spot rose in a cloud fifty feet high, three such explosions 
followed, augmented by a shot from one of the six-inch guns 
on one of our ships. The shock of those exploding depth 
bombs, dropped from one of the little sub-chasers, shook our 
ship from stem to stern, and many who were below deck at 
the time came rushing up thinking we had been hit by a 
torpedo. It was a thrilling sight to see those little boats go 
after that sub, and as the bombs went off the doughboys 
cheered loudly and long. Although danger lurked near. 

70 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

there was no fear, only curiosity, on the part of the men. 
They thought it more interesting than any ball game they 
had ever seen. It was some time afterward that we heard 
one of our ships had been torpedoed by a hidden submarine, 
])ut had managed to reach land safely. Needless to say, 
that particular sub never shot another torpedo, for it was 
now ^'Plus Finiy 

On May 6th, as we were nearing land, the regiment suf- 
fered its first casualty. Private Franklin Brun, of Head- 
quarters Company, died on board the Baltic. His body was 
laid to rest in Liverpool. This proved our first overseas 
casualty. We pulled into territorial waters of England the 
evening of May 6th, and the convoy came to anchor for the 
night. As the harbor was fully mined, with only light buoys 
designating the ship lanes into dock, it was thought best to 
await the daylight before proceeding in. The following 
morning, May 7th, we docked at Liverpool, England. 

Our trip across had been somewhat monotonous, but dur- 
ing the thirteen days it took to make the trip, we learned 
many things of interest. To many it was the first ocean 
voyage. Our food was not of the best, and at times the 
ship's odor became almost unbearable. The entire ship's 
crew was English, and English methods were in operation. 
It might be said that it differs somewhat from the American. 
There were many "bloody scandals" aboard. 

Upon landing, we marched under full packs through some 
of the main streets of Liverpool to the depot tvhere we 
boarded queer-looking trains. Each car was composed of 
several small compartments, and into each of these eight 
men with packs were assigned. 

While marching thi'ough the streets of Liverpool on our 
way to the station, the English gave us quite a reception. 

Off for France 


True, there were many long faces, and some who appeared 
in doubt as to the coming of the Americans and what they 
would do. I remember one old Englishman in particular, 
who, while we were resting in the street, came up and in 
characteristic fashion, exclaimed, ''Oh, you bloudy Ameri- 
cans are coming now that the war is over." No doubt true, 
old man, and the Germans were exulting over that very 
thing — that the war was about over and th(^y were ready for 
the fruits of victory. 

Southampton England, Ready to Cross Channei 

Leaving Liverpool by train, we rode all night, arriving at 
Southampton early the next morning, and proceeded out to 
a rest camp, where we rested all that day. Southampton is 
a beautiful place, all trees and flowcn- gai'dens — a sight worth 
seeing. The scenery of the outlying districts of England is 
picturesque ; so quaint and serene. The little farm plots care- 
fully laid out in painstaking order, and tlie old quaint stone 

72 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

houses with their thatched roofs and creeping ivy present a 
fitting picture. 

That evening we boarded the channel steamer and were 
leaving for the shores of France. That trip across the Eng- 
hsh Channel will never be forgotten. To commence with, 
the boat was no larger than the ordinary small "lighter," 
and on this hundreds of human forms and packs were 
crowded. There was no room to move about whatever, and 
many of us had to spend the night down in the stuffy hold, 
where we almost suffocated for lack of air. Next morning, 
May 9th, we landed at Le Havre, France. We were tired, 
dirty and hungry, and did present an awful sight to behold. 
Landing at this quaint old French port, we marched two 
miles out to a rest camp. We spent three days here clean- 
ing up and turning in such overseas equipment as was desig- 
nated. One order in particular — all kodaks owned by any 
of the men must be placed in barrack bags and turned in for 
safe keeping, and the owners would receive back their goods 
directly after the war. It might be said that no such goods 
have been received to date. 

Our stay at Le Havre afforded us the first glimpse of 
France and its people. Part of our time was spent in under- 
going inspections and readjusting equipment, and in a gen- 
eral way preparing for our campaign ahead. Our first im- 
pression of France can be summed up as follows : We noticed 
very few men or boys of military age around. A great 
number of women, and a majority of them in mourning. 
The houses and other structures were all of stone, and none 
over four stories high. Everything seemed to move on a 
slower scale than back in the States. With these first im- 
pressions we were ready to commence oiu' life in far away 

(W for France 73 


Preceding our departure from Doniphan for overseas, a 
detachment of twelve officers and twelve enlisted men had 
left in advance. They sailed on the George Washington, ar- 
riving at Brest April 13th, and proceeded to Chatillon-sur- 
Seine, where they attended Second Corps School of the Line. 
They rejoined the regiment after our arrival in France. The 
regiment's first casualties in active campaigning were among 
the men of this detachment. Major John Carmack of the 
Second Battalion was severely wounded May 28th while 
studying the game of warfare in the lines with the French 
in the Luneville sector When this detachment returned to 
the regiment they beca tne the center of interest. They had 
been on the Front, and to the rest of us that seemed suffi- 
cient to make them he; oes. 



Saturday, May 11th, we rolled packs and prepared to 
leave for our training area. It might be of interest to note 
just how much a doughboy had to carry while on the hike. 
Our packs now consisted of the following : Two suits under- 
wear, extra shirt, raincoat, overcoat, pair hobnail shoes, 
shelter half, pole and pins, four blankets, mess outfit, can- 
teen and cup, first aid packet, pistol belt or cartridge belt, 
toilet articles, and rifle, were we combatants. Later on, we 
added the gas mask and steel helmet, and reserve rations 
consisting of '^jully" beef and hardtack. 

Boarchng trains at Le Havre, namely, on the 11th, we 
here received our initial introduction to real French box 
cars, which, by the way, are about half the size of our Amer- 
ican cars. On the side of each car appeared a placard, 
"Hommes 40, Chaveaux 8" ; in other words, ''Room for 40 
men or 8 horses,' ' as the case might be. Whichever came first 
was first served. Crowding forty men, including full packs, 
into one of these little perambulators calls for the solving of 
higher mathematics. Sometimes we squared a circle and at 
others circled a square, in order to make room for the next 
fellow. Arriving at Eu the following morning, we detrained, 
and after a hot breakfast at another so-called rest camp, we 
hiked overland seven miles to a group of little old French 
villages which were to be our homes for the next six weeks. 
Regimental Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Supplj^ 
Company and Sanitary Corps were billeted in Bethancourt- 
sur-Mer; First Battalion at Meneslies ; Second Battalion 


Over There 75 

at Woincourt ; Thiid Battalion at AUeiiay. While here, a 
provisional battalion of troops from the States of North 
Dakota and Minnesota were assigned to the regiment. 


While at Doniphan, we had often read of the soldiers over 
in France and how nice they had it. They were living in 
billets and never had to bother about rolling tents every day. 
That was one reason we craved to get across to France. 
Now we were to enjoy our first experience living in these 
so-called billets. Whenever any troops were to occupy a 
certain village, a billeting officer preceded the troops and, 
going to the town mayor of the particular village, would 
notify said personage the number of billets desired, and the 
town mayor would go among the villagers and obtain the 
required number. The officers were given '^'hambre de 
couche" in the homes, many times living with the family. 
The men would l)e billeted in various ways ; some in vacant 
rooms of some building, others in barns and haylofts. It 
was here we first learned the meaning of the word ''cafe," 
of which there are a great number in France. Due to the 
fact that all, of the southern portion of the country is de- 
voted to the most extensive and the finest vineyards to be 
found, a great quantity of light wines are in existence. To 
the members of the A. E. F. the words, 'Win rouge" (red 
wine), and "vin blanc" (white wine), are quite famihar. 

An old saying, which no doubt rings true, is the one which 
reads, " The Frenchman and his wine, the German his beer, 
and the Swede his coffee." Seldom if ever does a French- 
man drink water ; he always carries his wine flask handy, and 
it is his constant companion for better or for worse. The 
water in France is quite bad as a rule, and all the water used 

76 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

by the American troops had to be chlorinated. Conse- 
quently, the Yank learned somewhat the mysteries of the 
wine-glass — not to an alarming extent, perhaps, but suffi- 
ciently to judge the difference between vin rouge and soda 
water. We found the French inhabitants very friendly 
and hospitable, and deserving of our best considerations. 

The first problem which stared us in the face was that of 
language. At first we had quite a time to make our wants 
understood, and some highly interesting and amusing inci- 
dents occurred. Our best weapons for '^assault and de- 
fense" were our arms and hands. What could not be con- 
veyed by tongue was demonstrated by said arms and hands, 
real Jew fashion. We became quite efficient in this manner. 
For instance, if one desired some eggs, you would enter the 
shop and when the Madame came forward to serve you, 
you would cackle like a hen and flap your arms, and she 
understood the rest. Little by little, with the aid of French 
grammars and continually mixing with the inhabitants, our 
vocabulary increased. One amusing instance of ye dough- 
boy attempting to captivate the heart of a Latin sister hap- 
pened one evening as this comrade was standing out in the 
village street attempting conversation with one of the vil- 
lage belles, who was peering out of a second-story window 
wondering why all the high-pitched tones and the gesticulat- 
ing. For half an hour he had been trying to tell her he came 
from Wichita, Kansas, the '' capital" of the world, and to 
further illustrate his point he informed her that Mary Garden 
performed there at some time or other. In his own words, 
''You compre Wichita, Kansas, Mary Garden, no compre, 
no bon." Turning to his comrades standing by, he re- 
marked, ''She evidently don't get me; one of you tell her I 
came from Wichita," 

Oi'cr 'Jlirre - 77 

Ahoul llic fii'st l)il of r'rcnch Anicrica's youii*;- hopc'fuls 
learned to speak was in adclressinj;- tlu^ fairer sex with, 
'^Voiilez vous promenade avec nioi se soir?" whieh, l)roadly 
speaking-, means, ''Will you j2;o sdollinjz; with me this even- 
ing!;?" After g:etting- that out of his system, he would pat 
liimself on the back and exclaim, 'Til bet that knocked hei- 

While in liainin^- in Ihis area, Am(>rican officcMs wcic de- 
tailed to various British schools; and on the other hand. 
British ofhcei's and enlisted men wc^-e detailed as insti'uctors 
to our companies. Here the men first learned the use of t he 
rifle- and hand-grenade. We WT^re now ecjuipped with Lewis 
g;uns lent by the British govermn^nt. In some* of these 
villages were l)illete(l some British engineers, who had re- 
turned from the Fi'ont for rest and training. Young and in- 
experienced as we were in the ai't of actual warfare, they 
found us ready and enthusiastic onhearers of the terrible 
tales of the Front. Most every one of them had at some 
time or other performed some heroic act, and didn't mind 
stating tlie fact. We later learned, after arriving at the 
Front, that many of their tales h[id Ix^en quite profuse in 
color and sentiment. 

It was while in this sector that we first beheld war's drama. 
While aslec^p in oui- billets one night, we wei'c suddenly 
awakened about midnight l)y a terrific concussion, which 
shook the billet to a noticeable extent. Without proper 
wardrobe every mother's son jumped out of his buidv and 
i-an out into the village sti'eet to see what was going on. Off 
to the north the sky was aflame, and constant explosions 
were recorded. A night raid l)y German bombing planes on 
(he low 11 of Abbcy\ illc, (he ccnlcr of hritish supplies, fif- 
teen miles away, was l)eing (Miacted. it was a wonderful 

78 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

kaleidoscopic picture to the human eye, but rather hideous 
when one considered the consequences of all those death- 
dealing explosions. Soon we heard the German planes pass- 
ing far overhead ; the drone of their motors could be heard 
for a considerable distance. 

Abbey ville became the object of repeated night raids by 
the Germans during our stay in that area, and often during 
the wee hours of the night we would stand out in that little 
village street and watch this picture, which appeared so 
fantastic, grotes(iue and hellish that it was beautiful to be- 

While here in the British sector, the question of food be- 
came so acute that various means of subsistence were devised. 
Most of the time we lived on Biitisli i-ations, which for the 
most part consisted of ''bully" beef, hardtack, marmalade 
and tea. Whenever our pocketbook afforded, we patronized 
the cafes where such as milk, eggs and potatoes could be had. 
Bread was difficult to obtain in the French villages, as 
everybody was on bread rations, and were issued only so 
much each day. Feeling the necessity of more sul^stantial 
nourishment at times, night raids upon the neighbors' cows 
would supply this. It proved quite a feat to corner one 
of these feminine quadrupeds, for not knowing the pass- 
word, they little knew whether it was friend or enemy ap- 
proaching. I recall how a certain Sergeant while leading his 
platoon ''over the top" of yon neighbor's fence one moon- 
light night, successfully reached the starboard side of Her 
Highness, and when about ready to start proceedings re- 
ceived a " Minniewurfer " square amidships, and, uttering a 
bloodcurdling yelp, made for th(* fence. The raid was re- 
pulsed and peac^ restored. 

Over There 79 


On June 6th, we bade farewell to this sector and the regi- 
ment began its movement to eastern France. The three hot, 
tiring days' march to Boiichy will never be forgotten by 
those participating. As the various companies departed via 
foot, the villagers were out in strength to bid us farewell. 
They had learned to know and like the American soldier, 
and were now showing their appreciation. 

We found the roads hard, the country hilly, packs cumber- 
some, and the weather unusually warm. The first day's 
hike we covered fifteen miles, and as this was the first hiking 
we had done for several weeks, it told. We were up early 
the following morning and again on our way. We did not 
stop for dinner this day, but kept right on until we had 
covered twenty-one miles, and came to a halt about 4 : 30 
p. M., tired, hungry, and so footsore that it was with some 
difficulty we moved about. Quite a number had fallen out 
during the hike due to blistered feet. After a good night's 
rest on old mother earth, we were up by 3 : 45 a. m. the next 
morning, and an hour later were on our way. Quoting diary 
for this day : 

''Everybody's feet so sore from blisters and ])acks tender 
from carrying heavy packs, that we find navigating quite 
difficult. This evening we arrived here in Boucliy, where we 
are to entrain. Have covered twenty-two miles toda^^ Are 
spending the night encamped in an old French orchard, 
sleeping in our fit tie ]^up tents." 

Next morning we were up at 4 o'clock, and after an elab- 
orate breakfast of black coffee we hiked a mile to the train 
yards and loaded into our favorite "Hommes 40, C'haveaux 
8" box cai's, and were soon on our way across the map of 

80 licitun/.scciicrs of i/ic l,)7ih ('. S. hijdnlnj 

I^'raiK'c. At this sta^c of the game, our \'\\\\v J''i'eiich box 
cars lookotl mighty good to us, as we were pretty well spent 
from our three days' forced march. En route, we passed 
through some beautiful country which to all appearances was 
as yet untouched by war. Passed thi'ough the suburl)s of 
Paris, and as it happened to be Sunday many Parisians werc^ 
si)en(ling tlu^ (hiy out in the parks and sul)urbs. They len- 
<ler(>d us a most heai-ty reception. The l)oys would take 
liardtack, wi'ite name and address and send them sailing 
through the aii', only to fall into the possession of some fair 
Ma(l(Mnoiselle. In this way, a iunnl)er of chance acquaint- 
ances were made, and it was not long until French and 
American letlei's conunenc(>d changing hands. As oui- trains 
were made up of both box c:ii-s and fiat c;ii-s, the latter car- 
rying the wagons and lolling kilcluMis, man\' of (he boys 
camped out on these fiat cars, where tlK\y could ol)tain a 
better view of the country. As the train came to a halt 
outside of a little village, one of the boys, spying a chicken 
running loose near by, thought of a clever idea, and picking 
up a small stone let go with some force. His shot i)roved 
tiue, and Miss Hen fell. That night while the train was 
steaming full ahead, an improvised kitchen was erected out 
on one of the flat cars, and a chicken roast took ])lace. Again, 
we say, you can't beat a doughboy. 

Tuesday, June 10th, we detrained at 1 a. m. in an open 
fi(^ld, and pitching tents remained there until daylight. 
Breakfast that morning was the first hot meal we had en- 
joyed for some sixty hours or more. We hiked fifteen miles 
and arrived at our destination in the Arches area, and the 
regiment occupied the villages of Hadol, Raon-Basse and 
Haon aux Bois. Here we receixcd our now famous <)\'erseas 
cap and w i-ap leggings. Proni now on we ))ut away childish 

Oirr Thcr cSl 

thinjis and IxH'anio iiion, or rather, soldiers. We could now 
hear the occasional lunihle of the f>;uns at the Front, so we 
knew we were not very far away. As regards the old his- 
toric village of Hadol, I quote following from my diary : 

''Here in this village of Hadol stands an old church built 
in the year 1009. It is of the old Romanesque style of ar- 
chitectui'e ; large masterful dome, inner palisades, stained- 
glass windows, and contains some wonderful statuaries. It 
is the same chui'ch where Jean de Arc worshiped during 
piwi of hei- childhood days, and today the visitoi- beholds 
hei- statuary within the entrance of the church." 

While here, Captain Bi'csse of the French army joined 
hea(k]uarters as military adviser and guide, and later on, 
while ui) in the Vosges, his aid and expei-ienc(^ proved in- 
valuable. These days w^re devoted to the training in hand- 
ling the ritle, grenades, one-pound guns and trench mortars. 
The men were fast becoming adepts in the use of these 
weapons, and were now prepared to face the enemy wh(M-ever 
he chos(\ 


June 21st was our red letter day. We harkened to our 
first payday in France. 'While in New York much time and 
money had been spent in seeing the sights, and when we did 
start aci'oss the waters for France almost e\-erybo(ly was 
''l)roke." Now in place of real honest to goodness American 
greenbacks, we were handed the queei'cst looking ))ai)er and 
silver evei- seen. We now received francs, sous and ceiuimes, 
which constituted the legal tender of the land. It had the 
apj)earanc(> of so nnich paper to us, and, it might be added. 
we never broke away from this idea during our entire stay 
in France. After much figuring and jotting of notes, we 
discovered that our rate of pay had inci'eased. We were 

82 Reminiscences of the 137th [L S. Infantry 

now drawing overseas pay, which was twenty per cent in- 
crease over our base pay. The cafes and shops did a thriv- 
ing business for some time following this payday. Chaplain 
Wark had scurried around and o})tained some treats for the 
bo3^s, and for the first time in France we enjo3Td some real 
American chocolate and cigarettes. Chaplain Wark was 
ever looking out for the men, and if there was anything pos- 
sible to be done for them, he saw that it was done. 

Monday, June 24th, we rolled packs, policed up the billets, 
and about noon the regiment loaded into motor trucks, which 
were to take us on the last leg of our long journey. The 
Third Battalion had preceded us by a few days, and were 
already up in the trenches. Loading into 124 motor trucks, 
24 men to each truck, the journey cpnnnenced. We request 
that the reader now follow us on this journey. Our route 
carries us through some of the most beautiful and romantic 
country yet seen. We are to pass ovei' the mountain pass 
of th(^ Vosges Mountains. We ascend the mountain road 
and are soon pulling away from the little valley below. It 
is a long, tedious climb, but while the trucks are slowly l^ut 
surely making the ascent, our interest is drawn to the fairy- 
land now far below. We pass through numerous mountain 
tunnels, and here and there see an ore mine in operation, 
there a little narrow gauge mountain train chugging .up the 
side of the mountain. Reaching the crest, we can now see 
the beautiful little valley on the other side. We now com- 
mence our descent down into the picturesque valley of Alsace. 
Far below, can be seen peasants at work in the meadows and 
gardens. Here and there a team of oxen being driven to 
water. Can hear the call of the shepherd's horn as he sum- 
mons the flock for the night ; hear the jingling of cow-bells 
far out over there on the verdure green ; the toll of the vil- 

Over There 83 

la^e church bell — a picture for the brush of an artist — and 
to think we are s^in^ to war only a few miles distant from 

The descent is made in due time, and we find ourselves 
down in the valley in Alsace, that plot which has been a 
bone of contention between two nations so lon^. We arrive 
at the villages of Oderan and Kruth, where we l)illet. We 
ai'e now in the Vesserling area, and the trenches are only six 
miles away. As our division went into the ti'cnches in tliis 
sector, the Germans, who t]u'ouji;h some source had leai'ued 
of our presence, laii up a larj»;e si^n at one particular point 
of their line with the following;: "Welcome, 3r)th Division; 
let's l)e friends." Not to be outdone, some of our boj^s ran 
up a reply: "Go to H ! We came to fiji;ht." 

So now our life at the Fi'ont begins. 

CHAPTl^i \'II. 


We are now in Alsace, tlie land so rich in traditional his- 
tory and endowed with natural scenic beauty. Its inhabi- 
tants comprise a mixture of CJerman- and French-speaking 
tongues, and they are lineal descendants of the two races, with 
the latter in ]:)]'(ulominance. To say that the people down in 
Alsace weie stronger for the French rule than the (lerman 
would be difficult to judge from the enlisted man's vi(Hvpoint. 
We were at war, and, as allies of France and many of the 
Alsatians, it would be but natural that the peoi)le wheie \\v 
were billeted should show a tendency for French rul(\ 'i'lie 
writer's personal opinion, which, by (he wny, can form no 
basis for nulhoril.y, would grant (h;il the majority ])i'efei-r(Ml 
French rule, as the then existing (ierinaii domination pi'oved 
just a little sevei'c. (!ei-many consci'ipted many Alsatians 
into her army, while 1^'rance. out of due respect, left the mil- 
itary question to the decision of the people in that district. 
This fact should have had a tendency to revert the people's 
support to the French government, not only for the present 
but for years to come. It might be added that a great num- 
ber of Alsatians inducted into the German army deserted 
and came across to the Allies. Many had not seen home 
for foui' y(Mirs, and feeling the unjustness of the whole busi- 
ness, they ciunv ovei- into our lines. 

This sector in Alsace had, as a rule, been what was con- 
sidered a "(juiet one." Here veterans as well as new troops 
fi'om both sides were, sent to rest and recuperate or to be- 
come initiated into the game of war. The motto down here 

/// M.s„rr 85 

seemed to read, "Don't distuil) Fritz more than is necessary 
and he won't disturb you." I'he ( Jermans api)Hed the same 
to the French. When the Americans took over the sector, 
however, thing;s brightened up somewhat. Perfectly natural 
when you stoj) to consid(M' ; here were thousands of the 
younji; mayhood of America who had come some six thou- 
sand miles to h^ht, and they wanted to.fioht and have it 
over with and i-eturn home. At fii'st, the T'l-ench could not 
undei'stand why the Americans were so anxious, so im))ulsive, 
so (lare-(l(n'ilish ; all they thought of was — tangle with the 
enemy. Where, previous to the AnuM'icans' enti'ance, I'l-itz 
had taken many lil)erties and often expos(Ml himself to vicnv 
without gi'eat danger of drawing fire, now, however, he dis- 
covered it best to keep his head down at all times. Thus 
the war song, "Keep your head down, I<'i'itzie boy." Tlu^ 
least sign of movement o\-er in Ihe (ierman trenches would 
(h'aw (juick fii'c fi'om the rifle of some alert doughboy. 

While here, we saw oui- fii'sl aii' battles and the effecls of 
anti-airci'aft gunfire. One moiiiing bright and earl>', we 
heard the aircraft guns open u}), and looking about perceived 
a German plane far overhead. Our barrage was making 
life miserable for Mi". Pilot, and he was circling hither and 
thither. About this time a P^rench plane hove in sight, and 
soon the steady ''put-put" of machine guns were heard. 
The Boche was finally driven off. Pai't of the ic^giment was 
now up in the trenches of the Metzei'al s(M't()i- ;ind holding 
the sub-sectoi- of TvCMuayei-. 


While in the Metzeral sectoi-, th(^ regiment suffered its 
first casualty from enemy artillery fii-e. The first man of 
the r(^gim(Mit to meet his denth in this maiuKM' was Pi'ivate 

86 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantrj/ 

George Holm, of Company "I/' who was killed by shell fire 
in the village of Elsbriicke on June 28th. Company ''I" 
was in the trenches, and Private Holm had come down to 
Elsbrucke to guide a ration train up to the company. The 
First Battalion was at the time entering the village on its 
way to the trenches. This concentration of troops drew the 
artillery fire of the enemy. The shell which took the life 
of Private Holm made a direct hit. His body was laid to 
rest with militaiy honoi's in the little cemetery in Metlach 
Parish, a short distance fi'om where he met his death. 

Before passing on, it would ])e well to describe the Jiature 
of tlie topography of the country where we were now facing 
the enemy. The country is very hilly and quite thickly 
wooded, both as to mountain sides and valleys. This af- 
forded excellent i)iotecti()n in many ways. Larg-e numbers 
of troops could be conccnded and enemy aviators made none 
the wiser. Many of oui' dugouts and other abodes were 
made in the sides of the mountains. As regards the scenery 
in general, it could be likened to our Colorado picture, only 
on a miniature scale. The road leading from Oderan and 
Kruth takes one up and over the crest of a small mountain, 
which leads down the other side to the trenches proper. 
Standing on the ridge of one of these peaks, you can look 
down ovei- a beautiful little valley with its network of inter- 
mingling trenches and miles of wire entanglement. At times 
you might notice a little puff of white smoke off" to the right 
or left , and soon comes the rej^oi-t of a shot up the moun- 
tain side. Again the silence of a S(M'ene morning miglit l)e 
broken by tlie "|)ut-put" ol" some hidden machine gim. 
Just al)Ove the little town of Metlach, high up on the side 
of the mountain and sheltered somewhat from dii-ect enemy 
fire, is located Regimental Headquarters. From here all 


/// Alsdcc 89 

ortlcrs [iiv li\*insiiiil ted by ruiiiKM- dowii the moiiiitnin si(l(> lo 
the trenches l)elow. Field telei^hones also are in operation. 
The liaison runner has an irksome job in this sector, and it 
takes strong, stin-dy lep;s to carry him uj:) and down the in- 
clines. Th(^ mcMi who lived close to Regimental Headqiiar- 
tei's, (Mijoyed sul)stantially-built dugouts. The officei's' and 
C'oloiK^rs quartei's wei-e made of native timber, and had the 
appearance of gcnmine mountain bungalows. These were 
usually buih far in among the tall pine trees. Regardless of 
war's proximity, it was in reality a beautiful setting. 

Whilc^ u]) th(M-e living and bixvithing the fresh mountain 
air, the men thrived as they nevei' did ))efore or aftei'. We 
hardly I'ealized th(^ worth of that life until we came away 
and proceeded u)) to tlu^ big front. The problem of getting 
i-ations up to \hv men was often a difficult one. The Fi-ench 
had a system of steam-pi-opelled cable carriei'S which trav- 
elled up and down the sides of the mountain carrying food 
and supi)lies. ( Mt(>n the cable heads would become the target 
for enemy fire and shght damage resulted. Supply wagons 
drawn by doul)le teams were also used, and often they had 
to make dangei'ous trips, which resulted in not a little ex- 

The oidy activity apparent in this sector weiv occasional 
night raids by our own ])atrols and those of the enemy. 
Now and then a light barrag(> would furnish a little coloi'ing. 

The life was not near as exciting as we first imagined it 
would be. A few weeks later, we witnesscnl i-eal wai". On 
the night of June 2()th the Tiiird Battalion with (\)mi)anies 
"K" and "L" wei-e in the Benoit (juartei-, Company "M" 
being distributed with the 118th French Infantry in the 
Dul)arlc (inarlcr, occupying the towns of Mdzcial Mnd Son- 
dernncli. The niiiiit of ,Iun(> 22n(l 2'.]v(\. the (lermans at- 

90 Retninisccnces of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

tempted a silent raid on the Third Platoon of Company "M " 
at P. C. Martin. Captain D. H. Wilson commanded the 
company, and Lieutenant Willard J. Shipe was in charge of 
the Third Platoon. The strength of the German raiding 
party was about forty men. Discovering the Germans com- 
ing silently across, the men waited their time. At a given 
signal they let the Boches have it, and old Fritz was some 
surprised boy. The raid was easily repulsed without loss 
to our side, while the enemy was severely punished. Due to 
this enemy raid we were able to identify the troops opposing 
us. They proved to be members of a Uhlan regiment. This 
identification was later confirmed when,- on the night of 
June 26th, the Second Platoon of Company "M," with 
Lieutenant Harvey D. Calkins in connnand, assisted the 
French in successfully lepulsing a raid on Sondernach, cap- 
turing several prisoners. Due to the unusual success of this 
i-epulse, citations from the P^rench connnander were received. 


"22nd Division of Infantry. 

General Staff, Third Bureau. 

No. mi\2. 

P. (\, 2r)th June, 1918. 

From General Renonard, Commanding 22nd Division, 
To Commanding Officer, 137th Infantry. 

1 . Report has been received by me of the gallant conduct 
of the men of the 137th Infantry, who by their coolness and 
spirit have contributed to the repulse of an attack executed 
by the Germans on the night of June 22nd-23rd in the region 
of Sondernach. 

I am glad to bi'ing this fact to your knowledge. It again 
confii'ms the high opinion I hav(» of the units of the United 
States Army which 1 have already had occasion to observe 
under fire." 

In Alsace 


The bombing .squad while repulsing a (lennan laid on (he 
Third Platoon had an exciting experience. Corporal Paul 
Cannon, who was in charge of the squad, was called upon to 
perform quick work in connection with discharging a bomb. 
Breastworks of logs were sometimes used to build up the 
sides of the trenches. Sti-iking tlu^ bomb against one of 
these logs to set off the detonator, the bomb stuck in a 
rotten crevice. This necessitated (juick woi'k on (he part 

'Chateau Renauld," Alsace. Fkench Nobleman's Estate, Where Band Billeted. 

of the Corporal, and after a few seconds of feverish work the 
bomb was extricated and pitched over the bi-eastworks, 
wliei'e it exploded wi(h terrific forc(\ 

While here in the Vosges, those of us who were ()u( of (lie 
trenches at the time, were permitted to enjoy two celebi'a- 
tions which will long be rememb(MXMl ; they were the 4th of 
July and (he IKIi of July r(>si)(H'(iveIy. The la((ei- known 
as "Bastille Day," commemorating the storming of the Bas- 

92 /\< IN / iiisccnccs of llic l,'>iUi ('. S. Iiifdiilri/ 

lill(> piison. Ill order to i)ortray to the reader the trend of 
events as they happened, I take the hberty of quoting a per- 
sonal lettei- written to home folks while down in Alsace : 

'Trance, July 7, 1918. 

''Dear Friends: Forsooth, th(^ day has come and gone, 
wlnCh li.'is left ils imprint ii))()n the sands of time and another 
pictmx' in the halls of tradition, and from its birth until the 
dusk of that faroff evening houi' shall settle down and pro- 
claim this world no more, the memories of this day shall ever 
live in the hearts of the people who now stand shoulder to 
shoulder during the greatest crisis of all history. 

"July 4, 1918, will henceforth go down in writ as a day 
commemorating that time when nations, who in former 
years lived moi'e or l(\ss apart, being bound only through 
commercial or trade ties, but now clasping hands in united 
brotherhood and stepping out upon the world's rostrum and 
l)roclaiming vows of true allegiance. America's Independ- 
ence Day has been duly observed, not only by the Americans 
who are at present doing their bit over here, but the entire 
French nation celebrated the occasion, and with heart and 
soul. Of all places, Paris had probably the most elabo- 
rate program. However, I here wish to give a few details of 
how the Kansas boys spent the day behind the lines. 

"The day dawned bright and clear, and we wei-e up and 
about at an eai'ly hour. As the French were acting as liosts 
to th(» Americans, they wei'C l)usily engaged decorating our 
little village with flags, bunting and evergreens. EvcM-ywhere 
the good old Stars and Stripes was in evidence. At 2 : 30 
p. M. a battalion of "Les Americains," with band in the lead, 
passed in review of one of our distinguished American Gen- 
erals, who had as guests of honor one French and one British 
General. After the parade, a show was given at our little 
'Y' hut, which had been decorated for the occasion. The 
show was given by both the Fi-ench and Americans. As the 
(lent'iMl and giiests arrived, the hand arose and with fei'vor 
played the 'Star-Spangled l)anner,' followed by the 'l\Iar- 

/// Ms„rr <):; 

scillcs.' 'Hiis ('()II('1u(I(m1, Iwchc lilllc' flowcM- ^iils, dressed in 
Hie cost nine represeiil iii^- Jonn of Are, deseended iVoin llie 
plnltonn, adxaiieinii,' up to where 1 he \'isi1in^' (leiierals sal, 
handed each a lt()U(|iie1 of loses and, aeeoichn^,' to the sahita- 
tioiis ol" tlie hind, each Httle (hiinsel received a kiss first on 
one cheek and then on the other. Fi'ance is a great country 
foi' kissing. They do not manipulate the same as the Ameri- 
can, for it is a kiss on each cheek and a fond embrace. When 
a French General would decorate some young hero, he would 
pin the cross upon the victim's breast and, placing both 
hands upon his shoulder, smack the unfortunate one first 
upon one cheek and then the other. The young American 
hero could never fall for this gam(\, and obj(^cted to being 
smacked by any male" species of the human race. He was 
not so particulai' when Mademoiselle entcMxnl the case. T\w 
program of the (hiy proved (|uite inter(*sting and th(> iidiab- 
itants (Mit(M(Ml into Ihe ceiemony with /(vil." 

During the evening, everybody was on his own. T^veiy- 
where one could see the French i:)oilus and the Yank to- 
gether ; they were fast learning to know each other. Al- 
though the French were acting as hosts of the day, still then^ 
w^as the true, ever vibrating American pep and snap behind 
everything, and the inhabitants were tendered a celebration 
whose equal had never been seen. As is known, the peoples 
of Europe are more slow-going in ever^^thing, while the 
Amei-icans are known the world over to be of the hurrying 
here and there vaiiety. \\'hen they stait out to do a thing, 
it's slap-bang, get out of the way, Fm coming. This was 
characteristic, and it was something quite new to our friends. 
Since we went over to France, it was noticed that people of 
other nations look to and admire the dashing care-free, non- 
stop spirit of the American soldier; and in this connection 
we might add that though he has often been christened a 
"dai-edevil," still llie world can be thankful for these char- 

94 Rem im seen C€'S of the 137th IK S. Infantry 

acteristics. It wa.s this sj^irit of the young American hlood 
wliich phuetl .sueh an integral part during the latter months 
of the great war. Many times it drew from the enemy that 
old cry of alarm and suirender, ''Kamerade!" We are now 
once'inore back in the trenches, after a happy day of fetes. 
It was now the keen eye and the alert mind which was to 
be tested on several different occasions. On the night of 
July 20th, a raid executed by combined elements of the 
First Battalion from Sondernaeh in the American lines to 
Landersbach in the enemy lines. This was to prove one of 
our biggest raids, and plans had been carefully laid. Com- 
pany '^C" formed the nucleus of the attack, and its strength 
was augmented by volunteers from each of the other com- 
panies of the battalion. Captain Roy Perkins was in com- 
mand of Company '^C," with Lieutenants Emit Kolf, Paul 
Masters, Ai'thur Theiss and Louis K. Scott as platoon lead- 
ers. Ample support was rendered by batteries of French 
artillery and l)y Company ''D" of the 129tli Machine Gun 
Battalion, and Company ''A," of the 13()th Machine Gun 
Battalion. Our own Stokes mortal- i)layed an imi)oitant 
part by directing well timed and effective fire. 

The raid went off on scheduled time and resulted in a 
number of casualties to the Germans, and we took seven pris- 
oners, beside some material valuable to our side. Aside 
from the prisoners taken, a number had been killed and 
wounded on the enemy side with our first artillery fire. Our 
casualties amounted to seven killed and wounded. The raid 
called for unusual efficiency and ingenuity on the part of 
men and officers, and they did their work in such manner as 
to justify inspired confidence for future engagements. It 
was during this raid that Lieutenant Thomas Hopkins, who 
had trained with our regiment at Doniphan, was killed while 

/// Als'irr \)7 

))(Mtorinin»;- an act of umisiial hcroisin and (,'Ouraji;e. Al- 
though not a incnibcr of the rai(hn^ unit, lio wont out to 
roscuo a wounded conirado wlio was lyino; on the wii'e. 
Reacliing the injui-ed man and about i-eady to cany him 
hack to safety, the (lermans ojiened uji with their machine 
guns and ''Tommy" fell, a victim to this fire. 8erji;eant 
C^uinn of the Sanitary Corps, seeing the two men out there, 
cast disci'etion to the winds, and going out there brought both 
men back to oui' lines. 

In this war, as in others, men have been susceptible to 
strange premonitions — a foi'eboding of something al)out to 
happen. In the army, we call such "hunches." Time after 
time we have read or heard concerning certain individuals 
who went into battle yvith that queer feeling, a "premoni- 
tion " that they were "marked." At times we wei-e doubtful 
if there was anything to these so-called hunches. Since en- 
tering the army, and especially after we went to France and 
came face to face with the infei'no, we had ample ()p|)oit unity 
to witness these said incidents in a new light. The writer 
can recall several instances whei-e certain individuals went 
up into the lines with that haunty feeling that something was 
going to happen. Our friend and comi-ade Lieutenant 
Hopkins had one such hunch the day before his regiment 
went into the lines. While visiting with members of the 
regimental band, of whom "Tommy" was very fond, he sat 
conversing with us in oui- billet down in Kruth the day pre- 
ceding his death. Wliile sitting there talking on various sub- 
j(H'ts,liesu(l(lenly tuined to Bandmastei' Fiid< and said : " Lou, 
this wai' has never caused me any woriy Uj) until today. 
We k^ave for the ti'cnches today, and for some I'eason or 
other I have a feeling that something is going to ha])i)en. 
Something tells me Lm not coming back." Shortly after- 

98 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

wards his regiment came swinging past, and Lieutenant Hop- 
kins fell in line. Just as he was leaving, he turned and said, 
"Well, so long, fellows. The first ambulance 3'ou see go by 
I may be in it." 

Two days later, an ambulance stopped out in front of our 
billet and word was sent in saying "Tommy" wanted to see 
some of us. Going out there, the first words he said were, 
"My hunch came true." He passed away the next day. A 
finer speciman of virile manhood never lived in this old 
world of trials and tribulations than Thomas Hopkins, known 
and loved by all the members of his unit. 

Following the raid in which Lieutenant Hopkins met his 
death, the Division Commander issued the following cita- 
tion : 

i"Headquarters 35th Di\ lsion, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
r)th August, 1918. 
(C'ori'ected Copy.) 
General Orders, 
No. 59. 

I. The Division Commander takes great pride in honoring 
the memory of Second Lieutenant Thomas Hopkins* 139th 
Infantry. Lieutenant Hopkins during a raid on July 20, 
1918, and although not a member of the raiding party, vol- 
untarily left his combat group, and, passing through the 
enemy barrage of artillery and machine gun fire, went to 
the rescue of a private soldier, who, wounded and crippled, 
had become entangled in the wire. Successful in reaching 
the wounded man, he himself was fatally wounded while as- 
sisting him to cover. This brave and unselfish act, which 
ended a most promising career, is only an incident in this 
great world's struggle, but it serves to show that in the des- 
perate hour of need the officer and enlisted man fight shoulder 
to shoulder in the brotherhood of arms. 

In Alsace 99 

II. The Division ('oinnuuuUM' desires to coiiiiiiend the 
soldierly conduct of the officers iuid enlisted men of the fol- 
lowing units participating in a raid on Landersbach July 20, 

American Units. 
First Battalion, 137th Infantry. 
Company "D," 129th Machine Gun Battalion. 
Sanitary Detachment, 1st Bn., 137th Inf. 
Company "G," 139th Infantry. 
Company "A," 139th Machine Gun Battalion. 

French Units. 
1st, 2nd, 3rd and 8th Batteries, 3r)th R. A. C. 
7th, 8th, 9th and 13th Batteries, 2nd R. A. M. 
10th and 11th Batteries, 125th A. T. 
1st Battery, 8th R. A. P. 
2nd, 3rd and 24th Batteries, VIII G/lll R. A. L. 

III. The Division Commander takes great pleasure in 
citing in General Orders the following-named officers and 
enlisted men for gallant conduct in action against the enemy 
in a raid at Landersbach on July 20, 1918 : 

Captain Roy W. Perkins, 137th Infantry. 
First Lieutenant Emil Rolf, 137th Infantry. 
First Lieutenant Paul W. Masters, 137th Infantry. 
First Lieutenant Ivouis R. Scott, 137th Infantry. 
Pirst Lieutenant Walter H. Kirkpatrick, Medical Coips, 
N. G. 

Second Lieutenant Aithur L. Theiss, 137th Infanti-y- 
Sergeant Jackson E. Walker, Company "CJ," 137th Infan- 

Corporal Carl W. Tui'iier, Company "G," 139th Infantry. 
Private Earl D. Sulhvan, Company "B," 137th Infnntiy. 
Private Eail P. Bussei-, Company '*B," 137th Infant i\'. 
By conmiand of Major (Jeneral Tiaub. 
E.E. Haskell, 
Official : Lieutenant, Cotonet, (reneral Stajf, 

Wm. Ellis, Chief of Staff.' 

Major, N. (}., U. N., 
Acting Division Adjutant. ^^ 


R(})n'Nfsrrncrs of the' J37fh U. S. I ufdnfrji 

\\\\\\v in (his sector, the i-('<;inuMit hccaiiu' "temporary 
owners" of a ])air of mascots. The French hatl captured a 
pair of small mountain burros, which had been used to carry 
food and other supplies in the trenches. They had no doubt 
seen nuich service, as numei-ous scars and wirecuts testified. 
While up in the trenches one day, four of the band boys, in- 
cluding Young, Eash, Lichtenberger, and the writer, were 
detailed to bring these ''petites souvenirs de la Guerre" down 
from the trenches to the village of Kruth. Each little am 
mal was fui-nished with side baskets which were used to c/n- 
vey the necessary supplies, and in these baskets our pAcks 
and other burdensome equipment were placed. A co/nical 
sight to see this detail of six '^ jackasses" wend thew- way 
down the mountainside to the little village l^elow. /t later 
turned out that this little team of mules became a nyone of 
contention between the French authorities and us./ (^rdeis 
were even ti-ansmitted by the French through military clian- 

'ks aftei-, 
with the 

nels re(|iiesling thai tlie animals be I'etui'ued. Wc 
while n anothcM* sector, a detail was sent back 

News was now being flashed around the world legardinj 
America's participation in the war, and the daily report *of 
the Americans' doings was read with interest by aW Allies. 
Everybody was anxious to know just what our forced could 
do. Thei-e had been moi'e or less doubt among the Al\es as 
to the fighting ability of the Yanks, and it was al)out\his 
time they received some real ''eye-openers." Certain Am(^ 
ican divisions were now occupying certain salients along the 
westei-n front, and from the very begimiing they started 
things to moving. Tlie (>vening of July 17th, wliile oui' band 
was giving a concert out on the i)ubHc s(|uare of our Httle 
village botli for the boys and the I^'i-eiicli inhabitants, the 


hi Alsace 101 

ix^port of Ihc ('hatciiu Tliiciry (Wwv nri-ixcd. l)niint>; the 
iiitoniiissioii of tlic coiu'CMt, a T'lcnch officii', inouiiting n 
chair, commanded silence, and, producing- a small manu- 
scrii)t, I'cad in loud accented tones the result of the Chateau 
ThieiTX' (hive. Could hear him nuMition "Soldats Ameri- 
cain" several times. He was inf()i-min<»; them concerning 
the drive and what grand results had been achieved by the 
Yanks. At the conclusion of the announcement, the peopk^ 
went wild. "Vive la Ameriqiie! Vive les Americains!" 
they shouted, and went around in the crowd patting the 
boys on the back and exclaiming, "Bon Comrack', fini 
Boche!" It did cause us to feel good, not alone for the 
cheers given in our honor, Init to know that the Americans 
were making good from the veiy start and doing it with a 
dash that made, yes, compelled, the woi'ld to sit up and take 

At dates vaiying from July 9th to 2()th, the I'egiment was 
relie\'ed in the Met/ei'al sector and made an ox'ciiand journey 
in trucks across one of the many mountain ridges to the vil- 
lages of Cornimont and Le Bresse. Heie w(^ were given sub- 
stantial billets in what might be called a l)eautiful rest area, 
for although the boys followed a regular schedule of daih^ 
routine, still the effects of the scenic landscape and the 
almost human homes we were living in made for so-called 
restful attitudes. The boys had now done their first bit in 
the trenches and had proven their worth as combat tioops. 
They now had the confidence and stamina of veterans. 

While hei'c at Le Br(>sse the reginu^it was given its fii'st 
''cootie l)aths," wliich no doubt sounds int(M'esting. Previ- 
ous to oui- arrival in l''i-ance, we had often lead of how the 
s<)l(heis had to combal licnch xciinin, which, broadb' speak- 
ing, meant dog-sized rats, cooties, and a certain (hseas(; 

102 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

known as trench itch. We were now experiencing some of 
this, and many of our young hopefuls were having an awful 
battle, especially during nights. Speaking of rats, will say 
that the l)easts we had to contend with were, as mentioned, 
almost dog-sized, long, hairy, spring-tailed brutes, which 
would often intrude upon our privacy ; and many times 
during the night, while asleep in some dugout, one would be 
awakened by the scramble and squeak of scores of the pes- 
tering creatures. Their favorite dish happened to be the 
lobe of the ear. A trusty hobnail would have a quieting 
effect for a few moments. Our little friend, the ^'cootie," is 
strictly a species of body lice, and is known as a blood sucker. 
It hatches via the egg route and multiplies rapidly. The 
eggs, imbedded in your underclothing or in the pores of your 
skin, hatch i-apidly due to your bodily heat. During cold 
weather, "cooties" do not move about much, but granted a 
warm day and they ''spring to arms" and do commence 
promenading. The more one scratches the faster they 
creep, and it is with some difficulty that they are overtaken. 
The only means of lidding your clothes of them is to treat 
your garments to a dry steam bath. 

The weather down in the Vosges was ideal, and we thrived 
on sunshine and "vin rouge." Here in Le Bresse we en- 
joyed Sunday divine services, held under roof for the first 
time in weeks. An old a])andoned school house up on a hill 
overlooking the village served tli(^ purpose, and here (.'hap- 
laih Wark conducted sei'vices. Heie was held our first com- 
munion service in France, at wliich time Chaplain Wark 
gave a very appealing and stii-ring address portraying 
"Immortality." Chaplain Wark did excellent work within 
the regiment, and being a speaker of real merit and integ- 
rity, the boys were always willing onhearers. 

In Alsace 103 

Leaving- Le Bresse about August 12tli, the regiment pro- 
ceeded by trucks up the mountain to the Le Collet area east 
of Gerardmer and went into the sub-sector of Gashney — 
again amidst beautiful, picturesque mountain scenery. As 
we were lelieving the French here, they let it be understood 
that if we remained comparatively quiet the Germans would 
not molest us. It had always been more or less of a quiet 
sector. The relative position of the lines had not changed 
for many months ; but now, when the Americans intruded 
upon the scene, things began to brighten up. The boys re- 
ceived instructions to "pot" anything they saw which car- 
ried any coloring of suspicion. No second order was 
ever forthcoming. We were now well supplied with artillery, 
and frequently shelled the German positions. This drew 
occasional retaliatory fire from the Boche guns, and the 
American lines were subject to frequent gas bom})ardments 
and machine gun fire. Our losses were meager. 

Almost every day we would witness numerous air battles, 
and saw two German planes shot down. It was a thrilling 
sight to stand and watch the planes maneuver high in the 
air, hear the anti-aircraft gims barking, and see where the 
shrapnel burst high above and around the objective plane. 
Now and then could hear the steady "put-put" of machine 
guns as each aviator would attempt to destroy the other. 
At times the shrapnel from the exploding shells would come 
whistling down and hit the gi'ound close by with a resound- 
ing thud — a gentle reminder that we wear our steel helmets. 


The night of August 30th, the Germans attempted a I'aid 
on one of our outposts held by Company "F." It happened 
])etween 1 and 2 o'clock a. m. The Gei'mans pi'eceded the 

104 Remhu'.'^ccNccs of the I37th [\ S. I iifdiiirti 

mid with a heavy ])arrn«;(\ which lasted only a few inoiiHMits. 
Shortly afterwards, one of our guards heard a peculiar 
twang — someone severing the wire. A flare was immedi- 
ately sent up, and it was then an upright object was seen to 
be standing out there in No-Man 's-Land directly between 
our wire and that of the enemy's. A grenade was thrown 
out from our trench, and following the explosion the object 
was seen no more. Quick work with a few more '"eggs" 
and steadily held lides seemed to clear the field of any lui'k- 
ing enemy. The (lermans had been driven l)ack, and it 
was later discovered they had left one dead comrade behind, 
namely, an officer, who |)roved the recipient of the first 
grenade. The following night our pioneer platoon recovered 
the body, w^hich gave us important identification. The re- 
sult of this raid drew favorable conmiendation from our Di- 
vision Commander : 

"Hkaih^t-arters 8r)Tn Division, 


Septembei- 7th, 191S. 
General Orders, [ 

No. 74. S 

I. The Division Commander takes great pleasure in com- 
mending the soldierly and courageous conduct of the follow- 
ing non-commissioned officers" and enlisted men who on Au- 
gust 30th, 1918, WTre members of (1. (\ 2 in P. C\ Reichaker, 
Sul)-Sattell, Sub-Sector Gashney : 

Sergeant P. O. Purdue. 

Goiporal M. S. Grhnord. 

Private Wm. A. Lake. 

Piivate Pearl Brunning. 

Private (Juy Nairn. 

Private Hubert Wiley. 

Pi'i\'at(^ Harold Bishoj). 

Private Richard l^ergen. 

In Msdcc I Of) 

Private Hmold Wlmlcii. 
Private Thoinas Brand. 
Private 1^'rank Day. 
Pri\'at(' Tliomas Pndhcck. 

This detat'hiiK'iit, under coininand of Paul Purdue, of 
Company "F," wvw at 1:15 a. m. .subjected to a heavy and 
eoiieentrated l)arrage of artillery and trench mortar fir(\ 
When the barrage lifted, this detachment, not at all daunted, 
rushed from their dugouts and repulsed an enemy raid, caus- 
ing the (Uvath of a German officcM", whose body was recovered 
and whose identification was of importance. 

By command of Matok-CIeneral Tkaub." 

One of the ukmi, i-ehiting the incident the following day, 
gave this version : "While standing down there in that dark 
trench W(^ll conciviled Vom th(> enemy fire, I took a s(|uint 
ovei- the pai'apet and saw sonuMiiing which lookc'd like a 
man standing out tluM-'. 11ie ban-age had let up, and the 
(Germans were no dount coming across. Picking up a gre- 
nade, I didn't go thr( ugh th(^ formality of counting one, 
two, three, and then t 'irow, as the English had taught us. 
Not by a long shot ; picked up that grenade and let her 
fly straight from the si oulder like when throwing a ball. I 
hit that object square amidships, and about that time it 
went off." 

Here again the read 'r's attention is calked to the fact of 
the typical American wwy of doing things. The French and 
British had been taught one certain way of throwing the 
grenade, which consisted of the overhead throw, which called 
for a certain windup. This American lad, lik(^ hundieds of 
his conn-ades when cai.ght in a close place, had resorted to 
the old instinctive way real l)aseball fashion. His sandlot 
experi(^nces stood him in good stead. This wai- has demon- 
strated that the American is a boi'n thi'ower, and his use of 

106 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

the haiul grenade proved far more accurate than any of the 
Alhes. The people across the sea are not adept at this game 
of throwing. It was a trait they admired in the Yanks, and 
they were often interested spectators at our baseball games, 
and even a game of ''catch" out on the village street drew 
an interested crowd of onlookers. The American is far more 
athletic than the majority of his overseas cousins, a fact 
worthy of future consideration. 

We were now ready to leave this sector and proceed to 
another, and as we heard, a far more active sector. We were 
ready for larger game, and each man, due to this experience 
in the trenches here in the Vosges, had aquired self-confi- 
dence and a concrete belief in his organization's ability to 
cope with the enemy. He had also learned that artillery 
fire was not always as dangerous as it sounded. We had 
become accustomed to the shriek and whine of passing and 
later exploding shells. We learned that artillery fire is 
often erratic and that the enemy was not always able to hit 
what he shot at. We noticed while in this sector that many 
of the enemy's shells were 'Muds," or shells which never ex- 
ploded after arriving. 

Recalling one incident which proved quite amusing. 
While up in the Metzeral sector, I was standing up by Regi- 
mental Headquarters one day. Headquarters at that time 
were situated up on the side of a mountain opposite the enemy 
lines. While standing there gazing down over the little 
valley below, I noticed several French soldiers passing in 
and out of a wood. A French unit was encamped down 
there among the tall pine trees. It was about noon, and 
perceiving a thin column of smoke arising and sifting up 
through the tree tops, I rather imagined dinner was in the 
making. Suddenly and without warning I heard the whistle 

Ill Almce 107 

of a, shell overhead, and foUowin^- Ihc sound, it was lieard to 
hit down there in that httle patch of wood where those 
Freneh were encamped. Suddenly I heard a most awful 
eonnnotion, and peering;- intently in the direction of the hub- 
bub a stranjie sight met my eye. For a few moments it 
seemed as though a certain area of that forest was swiftly 
receding in the opposite direction, leaving an entire army of 
blue-garmented figures standing still. In reality the story 
runs thus : Perceiving the smoke ciu'ling up from a certain 
spot on the side of that mountain, the Germans had dropped 
a shell over into that area, and no sooner had it hit the ground 
than scores of l)hie-clad Frenchmen dropped dinner and all 
and made for the open. They came racing out of that wood 
into the dealing hollering and jabbering in a state of great 
excitement. Oh, of course you want to know when the 
shell went ot^" and what damage it did. Well, it never went 
off, and as far as was learned never difl, as it was a "dud." 
If you should c^ver go to France and down to the Vosges and 
visit that pai-ticulai- })lace, you will no doubt find that same 
shell lying peacefully in the exact spot described. The last 
seen of those Frenchmen, they had fallen in for mess, and 
between swallows of vin rouge and a l)it of "fromage," were 
ever alert to another visit of an unbidden guest. After that 
episode, they were very careful to conceal all campfires from 
enemy observation. 

(•HAPT1^:]{ \ III. 


Nn])<)lc())i shifted, 
Restless, in the old sarcopliu^us, 
And murmured to a watch^uard, 
"Who goes there?" 

''Twenty-one million men, 
Soldiers, armies, guns; 
Twenty-one million , 
Afoot, horseback, 
In the air, 
Tnder the sea." 

And Xnpoleon lurn(>d in his sleep: 
"It is not my world answering; 
It is sonu> di-eainci- who knows not 
The world I marched in 
From Calais to Moscow." 

And he slept on 
In the old sarcophagus, 
AVhile the airi)lanes 
Droned their motors 
Between Napoleon's mausoleum 
And the cool night stars. 

Slimmer was now (li"awiii<i; to n close, and the :i])|)i'oa('li of 
fall found our entire division ti'ied and (("slcd in the fires of 
actualities and not lacking- in preparation, enthusiasm and 
efficiency as a first-class combat division. We had now com- 
pleted what mioht be designated the first leg of oiu" overseas 
campaign. We had spent the first six weeks of our stay in 
France in training with the British u]) on the Sonnne sector, 
and the l)alance of the summer down in the !)eautiful scenic 
area of the Vosges Mountains in Alsace. Although daily 

rhcHL Mikid Drive KM) 

coming in contact with new oxi)ci-iences, meeting many new 
trials and unaccustomed hardships, the hoys accHmated 
themselves quickly, and from beginning to end conducted 
themselves like vetci'ans. That typical western spirit, that 
Kansas spirit, was ever in evidence. 

Being i-elievcnl in the (lerardmer sector about the first of 
September, the regiment began movement which eventually 
was to bring us up to the St. Mihiel salient. Leaving the 
trcniches, the entire regiment was loaded into motor trucks, 
and we proceeded down the winding mountain highway to 
the valley below. Arriving at a little village called Granges- 
siu-Vologne we billeted here for the night. The following 
evening, just as the enshrouding veil of night was gathering, 
we fell in under packs and hiked fifteen kilometers to La 
C'hapelle, where we entrained via the box car route. After 
an all night's ride, we detrained the following morning at 
Blainville in the Toul area, and, hiking under the sweltering 
sun a distance of twenty kilometers, arrived and were bil- 
leted in the towns of Tonnoy, Velle-sur-Moselle and Saffais 
in the Blainville district. Here we were first introduced to 
the sons of Italy, and many of the boys were billeted in the 
same camp with them. While here, we witnessed our first 
fatal Allied air battle. A German plane flying at a high al- 
titude, was seen coming over toward our camp. While 
watching this oncoming ])lane, we saw another plane sud- 
denly swoop down from above the clouds, and attaining a 
position directly over the Boche, this newcomer opened up a 
withering fire with his machine gun, which put the Boche 
engine out of commission, and tlu* plane conmienced a grad- 
ual descent. Just as the (Jerman was seen to be coming 
down, I he I'Vciich plane \v: is seen lo suddenly I inn coniplelely 
over and |)ointing nose downward, fall s(i-aighl as an arrow 

110 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infanirij 

and swift as a bullet, hitting the ground with a tremendous 
crash which splintered the effects into a thousand pieces, 
and mangling the pilot beyond recognition. This brave 
little Frenchman, while on the ground near a small wood, had 
seen the German coming over our lines, and realizing his 
paramount duty, had climbed quickly into his machine and 
mounted in a roundabout way to a favorable altitude above 
the clouds. Evidently the German had not noticed him, 
for he kept steadily on his course. All this time, an Allied 
barrage was being thrown around the Boche and the anti- 
aircraft guns were making a hideous noise. At an opportune 
moment, the French pilot dove down through the cloutl, and 
finding himself directly over the enemy opened up with his 
machine gun. Just as he had shot through the cloud and 
had opened fire, his machine was hit by his own artillery 
barrage, and in the space of a very few seconds neither plane 
nor pilot were existing. The German, w^ho had sailed down 
in a gradual manner, made a landing, and before he could 
destroy his plane or important material, he was captured and 
many valuable papers and documents obtained. 

Night after night, we heard bombing planes passing high 
overhead, and, judging by the throb of their motors, they 
were heavily laden with implements of destruction, and on 
their way to carry out their nightly mission. Many times 
we could not tell whether the}^ were friend or enemy, but 
always trusted to the former. The regiment remained in 
the Blainville district until September 10th, and that night 
we commenced our overland movement up to the St. Mihiel 
salient. Never are those night hikes to be forgotten. The 
three nights following, found us plodding wearily on our way 
through (lie hinckcst of iiiglils, llij'ough dismal i\'iiii mid 
oceans of soft, slushy nuid, which plastered us from head to 

The^t. M if lid Drive 111 

foot. We hiked all night, resting by the muddy roadside 
ten minutes of every hour. Diu'ing these brief rest periods, 
fincUng no dry spots on which to reheve our weary cai'casses, 
we did the ''gentlemen seated" stuff right there in the mud 
and water. Now and then a pile of gravel alongside the 
old Roman i-oad would be a point of attack by every dough- 
])oy within fifty yards of said dump. First come, first served. 
For three consecutive nights, we were running our motors 
from the knees down, and as daylight approached on each 
succeeding morrow we would stop in some little old manure- 
ville village and billet for the day. The third and last night 
of this particular hike found us wending our way through the 
darkened streets of that old historic city of Nancy. Nancy, 
an object of repeated Hun raids, was shrouded in darkness ; 
not a light was to be seen, and it was so dark that we had to 
touch packs with the man ahead in order to follow the line 
of march. It was during this "promenade" through Nancy 
that several of the boys were almost kidnapped by some of 
the fairer sex. As we were plodding along through the 
streets, quite a numljer of the inhabitants, l)ecoming aware 
of our presence, came out to discover what that peculiar 
steady rythm of ye hobnails meant. Evidenth^ few Ameri- 
cans had ever passed through this place, so we were accorded 
quite a welcome. Many times, such exclamations as, "Ah, 
les Americains, tres bon, tres bon," could be heard. Yes, we 
agreed; we were Americans all right, but not very "bon" 
at that particular time. It was, "Beaucoup promenade, 
])eaucoui) attention, and tres beaucoup fatigue," and we 
craved rest and a thy pla(*e to sit down. While "at ease" 
befoie one of the large archways, a number of "jolie made- 
moiselles" approached us, and conversation was in order. 
Dates were made as fast as the lingo could be thrown, and 

112 Honinisccnccs of I he 137th V. S. Infanfri/ 

the engageiiients which were broken that night would make 
a record in the States look meager, to say the least. Leav- 
ing Nancy, we continued on our wa3^ and about 3 : 30 a. m. 
pulled into the Forest de Haye. Now the casual reader 
might wonder why all these night hikes. While moving in 
and around active sectors, all movements had to be carried 
out under the cover of night, a precaution against enemy 
ol)servers who were ever on the lookout. Most of our trav- 
eling was done during the night, and we would remain con- 
cealed in some village or patch of woods during the day. 
The hardest ordeal of these night hikes was the fact that no 
one was allowed the friendly ''tete-a-tete" of a smoke. No 
lights of any description were permitted, and many times we 
longx^d to even flash a light in order to see a foot ahead of us. 
Often during these night marches the regiment would be- 
come lost and probably have to retrace several weary miles 
ill consequence. At times it became quite exasperating, and 
b(Hng utterly weary in mind and body, it proved rather 

Here, let it be said, that the American soldier is the biggest 
"crabber" in the world, and at times his voicings appear 
even amusing. Let it also l)e said that this crabbing proves to 
])e a commendable quality in the American soldier. It has 
been admitted and confirmed that a little crabbing such as 
the average doughboy gives voice to is necessary to a healthy 
young army such as we had in France. It usuall}^ tends to 
relieve the monotony of long, silent, wearysome hours. For 
instance, marching all night through rain and mud, hardly a 
word spoken, the only sound apparent is the steady tread of 
heavy-soled feet. This silence causes one to feel bodily ef- 
fects to a great degree. All at once the awful silence is 
broken with such as, "When do we rest? When do we eat? 

T/ir SI. M/Iucl Drive I IM 

What ya think we are — an outfit of packmules? By George, 
I'm thi'ou^li with this draggino- around the country. To 

H with the Kaiser. I'm stopping in the next vilhxge foi- 

a ])illet." Anoth(M- voice from out of the wilderness with : 
"What ya think this is, a Sunday school picnic? Who's 
leading this line of march, anyway? Must be going to a 
fire." And again, ''When do we rest?" Could quote a 
hundred vai'ied doughboy murmurings, and, adding up the 
sum total of them all, we still contend that this pai't of a 
doughboy's life is most necessary. While walking along 
giving voice to such outbursts, he is not speaking to any on(* 
pei'son directly, but seems to be holding conversation with 
some unknown power or spirit. One moment Mr. Doughboy 
is "crablving" his head off; yes, he is going to throw his 
pack away, fall out of line, never hike again, going to nuu'der 
the bugl(M", and a thousand and one other things. Five 
minutes later, he has forgotten ah and everything he ever 
said, and has no more intention of doing all those blood- 
curdling, terrible things than "Davy" Jones. After he has 
rid his system of all that charge, he feels relieved, strength- 
ened and "steps 'em off" 120 per minute. May the powers 
that be have pity on the one who has never "crabbed" dur- 
ing his army career. That meek, lamblike mortal makes a 
decidedly poor soldier and less a fighter. He is to be pitied 
by his comrades, for the}^ know he is out of place in this 
man's army. It's the man with backbone, spirit, and pos- 
sessing somewhat a mind of his own, who, though at times 
says all those awful hair-raising things above mentioned, but 
who, when the time comes, goes into a thing in a do or die 
spii'it who makes a real honest to goodness American " Yank" 
doughboy, and if the coming law reads not, "Let us have 
peace!" then stamp the clarion call, "Let us have more 

114 J\'(ni/ni\sccn(rs of the lS7th (J. S. 1 njanlnj 

such doughboys." Soldier psychology is an interesting sub- 
ject to the observer, and many valuable lessons are accorded. 

We were now in the Forest de Haye. Ai-rived just before 
dawn and during the darkest hours of night. Assembhng in 
this wood we fell out and command was given to ''pitch 
tents." This was done wherever we happened to stand. 
It was useless to look for a dry, sheltered spot. Some un- 
rolled packs and were soon "coucheing" in their little pup 
tents; others sat down with backs planted against trees, 
and, wrapping water-soaked blankets around them, slept 
thus until daylight. 

It might l)e added that during our march this last night 
up to the Forest de Haye, we beheld our first ail-American 
artillery barrage in operation. The ban-age opening the 
St. Mihiel diive had conunenced about 2 a. m. that morn- 
ing, and it afforded some leal sensations. We could hear 
the terrible roar of the guns, and the sky off to our east was 
aglow — in truth, a pictui'e for an artist to paint. Added to 
this inferno, could l)e heard the drone of hundi-eds of air- 
craft busily carrying out their operations ; and we might 
add that during this drive in particular the American avi- 
ators came in for their share of glory. To one unaccustomed 
to the vicissitudes of war and what it holds, all this we were 
seeing and hearing would no doubt be cause for no little 
consternation and awe, but we were so tired out and weary 
that it held little attraction for us. Once in a while, an ex- 
pression would emanate from some little water-soaked pup 
tent as, "Well, I wish they would let up with that noise so 
a fellow could rest in peace"; or, 'M wonder what the 
Dutch think of the Americans now?" 

We remained in this little forest from September 1 2th to 
September 18th, and during that time were living on a diet 

The Si. Mihirl Drire 115 

of two meals a day, l)ui fared (luite well, as there was little 
to do but lay around playing the game of watchful waiting. 
Fearing a sudden and hasty order to move up, many did not 
remove their clothes for four days. As the drive progressed, 
reports would come in describing every movement, and each 
report appeared most favoraljle. The enemy was on the 
run from the start and little resistance was encountered until 
later on in the di'ive. 


The all-American drive was proving a success beyond the 
wildest dreams. While American units had held different 
divisional and corps sectors along the western front, there 
had not been up until this time, for obvious reasons, a dis- 
tinct American sector, but in view of the important part the 
American forces were now to play, it became necessaiy to 
take over a certain permanent portion of the line. Accord- 
ingly, on August 30th, the line beginning at Port-sur-Seille, 
east of the Moselle, and extending to the west through St. 
Mihiel, thence north to a point opposite Verdun, was turned 
over to American jurisdiction. The American sector was 
afterward extended across the Meuse to the western edge of 
the Argonne Forest. 

The preparations for a complicated operation against the 
formidable defenses in front of the Americans, included the 
assembling of divisions and of corps and army artillery, 
transport, aircraft, tanks, ambulances, and the location of 
hospitals, and the moulding together of all the elements of a 
great modern army with its own railheads, supplied l)y our 
own Service of Supply. The concentration, which was to be 
a surprise, involved the movement mostly at night of ap- 
proximately 600,000 troops. The French generously gave 

IK) IxvihI nisccnrcs of llic l.>7U} V. S. I iifdnlnj 

assistance in corps and army artillery, and we had the ad- 
vantage over the enemy in guns of all calibers. Our heavy 
guns were able to reach Metz and to interfere seriously with 
German rail movements. The French independent air force 
was placed under American command, which, together with 
tht? Biitish bombing squadrons and our own air forces, gave 
us the largest assembly of aviation that had ever been en- 
gaged in any one operation. 

From Les Eparges around the nose of the salient, to the 
Moselle River, the line was approximately forty miles long, 
and situated on commanding ground greatly strengthened by 
artificial defenses. After a four-hour artiller}^ barrage, the 
seven American divisions in the front line advanced at 5 a. m. 
on September 12th, assisted by a limited numl)er of tanks 
pai'tly manned by Americans and l^y French. These di- 
visions, accompanied by groups of wdre-cutters and others 
armed with bangalore torpedoes, went through the succes- 
sive bands of barl^ed wire and support trenches of the enemy. 
At the cost of only 7,000 casualties, mostly light, 16,000 
prisoners and 443 guns and a great quantity of material 
fell into American hands. The Americans had released in- 
habitants of many villages from enemy domination and es- 
tablished our lines in a position to threaten Metz. The 
signal success of the new American Army in its first offensive 
was of prime importance. The Allies found they had a 
formidal^le army to aid them, and the enemy learned finally 
that he had one to reckon with. Duiing the drive it was 
I'eported that one of oiu- divisions had advanced five miles 
without suffering a casualty. Our regiment was during this 
time h'ing in reserve back in the Forest de Haye, and we 
\yere not to lose out on some interesting experiences. One 
night about 1 : 30 a. m. we were suddenly awakened by an 

The Sl\]l,h/rl Driir 117 

explosion whicli shook \\\v wvy jiiiouiid. (^iiirk as a flash, 
wo realiz(Ml dan^-er lin'kin^- near. Crawling out of our little 
pup tents, we eould j^lainly hear the drone of an aeroplane 
which seemed to be dii-ectly overlu^atl. Foi- a time we 
thou<>,ht th(^ (Jei'mans had l)e('ome aware of our presence in 
that pai'ticular wood and that they were bom])ino; us. .Iiist 
about that time we heard the steady "put-put-put" of a 
machine J2;un, and then we ''knew" our convictions were 
ti-ue. The Boche was sweeping; the wood with his machine 
jiun. Anti-aircraft g;uns situated here and there about the 
wood were sivin<>; voice in an<2;ry accents, the muffled report 
of burstin<;' shra])n(4 ln<>;h ovei'head could be heard, and now 
and then the sing of the })its as they came sailing down to 
earth. After half an hour of such, the German evidently 
decided it sufficient "strafe" for one night and departed. 
We later learned that he was not after the Americans in that 
particular wood, but had dropped a few "eggs" on a little 
village a mile below from where we were encamped. The 
machine gun I'eports we had heard were his shots at one of 
our anti-aircraft gun crews close l)y. Their fire had exas- 
perated him and he had retaliated. During the daytime we 
saw hundreds of Allied planes passing to and fro overhead. 
They were operating in the drive, and helped in a general 
way to break down the morale of the retreating enemy, 
])om})ing columns of march, blowing up sully and ammuni- 
tion dumps, and in various ways making life unpleasant for 
Fritz. We outnumbered enemy aircraft ten to one, and the 
fo(^ was helph^ss lo cluH-k our advance. The St. Miliiel di-ive 
proved a success from start to finish, and gave the Americans 
renewed strength and confidence in their ability to cope with 
Germany's best. From that time on the Germans possessed 
a wholesome respect for the fighting quality of the American 

lis Hcnii nisrvnrcs of l/ic l,J7lh (■. S. hifdntn/ 

While here in reserve ckiring- the 8t. Miliiel chive, Chap- 
Iain Sullens, our new Regimental Chaplain, joined the regi- 
ment. Chaplain Wark, who had been with us since Doni- 
phan days, was assigned to a hospital at Base 52. Our life 
here in this forest was a dismal one, and in passing I might 
add, that often as we lay there in our little pup tents during 
some dark night listening to the patter of raindrops on our 
little canvas tents, our thoughts would often revert back 
over the miles of cruel distance, far back across the ocean, 
and out to where the "West begins." We were now learn- 
ing the grimness of war and were commencing to realize that 
it was no child's play. It called for men, big, strong, robust, 
vigorous, stronghearted men. It was no place for a weak- 
ling. The "mind wilhng but the flesh weak" did not har- 
monize in our picture. Many times when conditions were 
ahnost unl)eai'al)le, we must needs urge ourselves onward, 
with little time for the thought of home or old environs, for 
to have given an absolute free rein to our thoughts and 
emotions would have proved a difficult handicap to overcome. 
The less we thought about it the better off we were. It was 
no use in becoming more miserable than we were at times. 
Many times, while sitting in some lowly billet or bivoucked 
in some dark, overshadowing wood, and while writing to 
loved ones at home, we would intentionally leave out much 
concerning our life at that particular time. Many stories 
sent back home were but half told. They must not know, 
as it would only cause their anxiety to increase. Those at 
home were fighting their battle, and sometimes I have been 
inclined to believe that theirs was the hardest battle. No 
one will ever know just what the fathers, mothers, wives 
and other loved ones suffered. They in turn bore their 
burdens in silence, and little was said or made known. The 

77/r ,S7. MihIH Drirr I M.) 

spirit of all was woiRlerful to Ix'liokl. Even over there 
time after time that home feeling would creep into our souls 
like a thief in the nijj;ht. We wei-e })ut human after all. 
Those times were perhaps the hardest battles we had to fight. 
Only a soldier who has been over there and passed through 
the inferno can realize the meaning of these lines. 

About September 18th, learning that we would, not be 
needed in this drive, preparations for a sudden move to 
another fi-ont began. A few hours latei- the regiment left 
the woods and made a hike of seven kilometers through 
the quagmii'e of the forest over to the Nancy and Toul 
highway, where a train of 1100 French motor trucks was 
waiting to convey the division to another sector. While 
loading into these waiting trucks, an amusing incident 
occurred. We had not as yet seen any evidence of a 
real honest to goodness American woman. April 25th 
had afforded us our last glimpse of one such. It maj^ sound 
somewhat strange when we say we never knew before what 
one of the fairer sex means to tliis old woi'ld. Often perhaps 
we had heard or been awkward enough to pass such a re- 
mark as, ''Well, I guess we could get along in this old world 
without women. Vain creatures as a rule, and men must 
always cater to them." Now, thanking the powers that be, 
we had learned a bitter lesson, and that was, this world 
would in truth be a dismal place without the presence of 
those "bright angels." For weeks we had met or seen none 
l)ut old French peasant folk, and we craved the sight of a 
real human being. Probably strange we admit this now, but 
it is tlie truth. While standing there on that highway 
awaiting orders to load trucks, an ambidance was seen to 
be bearing down the road, and all along the line great cheers 
were to be heard. As the vehicle came closer, we beheld 

120 Ixcinl niscvnccs of l/ic l.Mlh ('. S. Iii((tiilni 

two American Reel Cross nurses seated up in front alongside 
the driver. Everybody made for the road, and as the 
''angels" passed, a thunderous roar of greeting came from 
hundreds of doughboy throats. It was the best thing we 
had seen since coming to France. After the a'lnbulance had 
passed, a new and hitherto unknown cr}^ came into being. 
Such voicings as, ''I want to go home," passed down the 
line, and to this day we are inclined to believe those mur- 
murings spoke words full of sincerity. We did want to go 
home right then and there. 

Loading twenty-two men, including packs, in each truck, 
we rode all night of September 18th-19th, j^assing through 
Toul and Bar-le-Duc to Foucaucourt. It proved a miserable 
joui'ney, and, crowded together as we were, little rest was to 
be had. All during the night we passed hundreds of big 
gvms, ammunition wagons, supplies and trucks, all headed 
for the Front. Many of them had just come out of the St. 
Mihiel drive and were on their way up to open the Argonne 
drive. Man and beast alike were completely worn out, and 
many times we saw this long column slowly wending its way 
onward, horses barely able to move and human forms 
stretched out on cannon, caissons, some sitting astride their 
hoi-ses with heads bent over almost on the necks of the ever 
faithful animals, dead to the world. It was a pitiful sight. 

Leaving the trucks at Foucaucourt, we marched seven 
kilometers and bivoucked in a small village for the night. 
Many had passed up supper that evening and had made 
Iheii' bunks and i-etii-ed. About 10: 'M) that same night and 
while everybody was peacefully reposing, orders were re- 
ceived to fall out w^ith packs, as we were to move up. Imagine 
our disappointment upon being suddenly awakened after 
thirty-six hours of hard traveling, only to discover we were 

The St. Mihid Drive 121 

to move on again that very night. Of course, a httle 
"healthy crabbing" was necessary before we coukl rub the 
sleep out of our eyes. It seemed as though everybody had 
his say that night, and some wonderful theories were pro- 
]:)Oun(led. "Who was running this man's army, anyway? 
Didn't he know his business? If I was at the head of it 
things would l)e done in a different manner. I would never 
have the boys make these night hikes. Would give them 
nice white, clean l)eds to sleep in, silk pajamas to loll in, 
oatmeal for breakfast, and a thousand other necessary 
things." After a few moments of such "diplomacy," every- 
body was wide awake and preparations speedily under way. 
Again, we contend that a little healthy crabbing is a great 
tonic. In ten minutes from the time we were awakened we 
had dressed, packs rolled, and had fallen out. Marching 
twelve kilometers, we drew up about daylight into the 
Forest de Argonne near the village of Granges Le Compt. 
Here we pitched tents under the high forest trees and rested, 
awaiting further orders. 

Night after night as we lay encamped here, we could hear 
the noise and rattle of artillery moving up. All night long 
the steady "chug-chug" of the little caterpillar tractors 
pulling up ^he large guns could be heard — miles of motor 
transports, annnunition and supply trains. The roads were 
so congested that it was almost inipossil)le foi- any vehicle 
to move in the opposite direction. It was a spectacular as 
well as a novel sight to stand there during any hour of the 
night and watch this vast endless procession. 

Here and there a tractor would flounder off the road and 
sink down in the mud by the roadside, wagons stuck here 
and (here, and lianlic sweat ing " muleskinners" laboriously 
endeavoring to extricate their charges. The preparations 

122 Revuni^ccKcc^ of the loltli V. S. lufanlnj 

were man- and beast-killing. The animals were subjected to 
a terrific strain : many gave out and fell by the waj^side to 
there linger and die from sheer exhaustion. Many times 
the scarcity of our faithful friends became so acute that the 
men had to assist, a great portion of the time, in moving the 
vehicles. This placed a double burden on all concerned. 

We were now commencing to realize that something "big" 
was about to happen, and we knew that we would have a 
share in it. Things around us began to assume a peculiar 
hue. We heard discussions here and there regarding the 
l)ig drive that was coming off, and, noticing the vast prepa- 
rations going on, it set many to thinking. While lying 
around what was known as "Fink's Abri," a few of us were 
interested onhearers to important discussions conducted by 
the "Big Three." The "Big Three" was a compact, secular 
organization claiming three charter members. It was com- 
posed of members of our higher officialdom — Captains Elhs, 
Bonney and Barr. To those who are familiar with these 
nightly proceedings, little can be said by way of explanation. 
Here in "Fink's Abri" our evenings were spent in discuss- 
ing anything from anarchy to higher elements of Christian 
Science. This last particular evening, as we sat aroimd that 
little indoor fireplace, the pertinent subject was the coming 
drive. A map outlining the drive was in evidence, and sev- 
eral aerial pictures showing the German positions were 
closely studied. That same evening Colonel Clad Hamilton 
had called all the officers of the regiment together for con- 
sultation and study of the outline of the coming (\vv\v. It 
was quite interesting to stand there and listen to the fore- 
telhng of coming events. That last evening together was in 
truth a momentous one. Where hitherto we had been more 
or less of a free, happy-go-lucky assemblage of mother's sons. 

The Si. Mihid Drive 123 

now, however, things were assuming another hue. Many no 
doubt reahzed that they were soon to be called ])y a Higher 
Power to make the supreme sacrifice for home and country. 
All this had a sobering effect upon many, and let it be said 
in justice to those who when the time came crossed the Great 
Divide and in reverence to those homes and loved ones who 
had from the cradle to the initial moment taught him the 
great principles of life, the many lying there upon the ground 
of that little wood that particular evening hour made ready 
to meet the test, and prepared the way by consecrating 
their last moments to that ideal which had been nourished 
wdthin them during earlier years. 

The evening of September 25th orders came to move up 
front. The Third Battalion had already preceded the regi- 
ment up to the lines. Each man was issued two days' ra- 
tions, and all canteens were filled. All packs and equipment, 
aside from the regular combat equipment, was left behind 
under guard. Just previous to ''falling in" the boys were 
called together and a few pertinent suggestions given. The 
three essential points advanced were : first, rations ; second, 
water ; third, ammunition ; and it was to be each man for 
himself the best he could. 

Storing all of our equipment, the regiment ''fell in" about 
7 : 30 p. M. Seven of the band members volunteered to ac- 
company the regiment up to the lines, to there perform 
whatever duty was required. On our way up that night, 
we passed hundreds of vehicles of all descriptions — an ever 
steady flow. 

While observing a ten-minute rest period, and seated along- 
side the roati, an amusing incident took place. We were 
\v.m( clung a company of colored engineers filling in the holes 
and crevices of the highway. They were woiking (huing 

124 ReviinhcenceH of Ihc Io7tJi T. S. Infantry 

the nighttiine as a precaution against enemy observers. 
They were large, awkward-appearing Texas negroes, and as 
they came nearer, one of our lads desiring to know what 
State they hailed from, addressed one Inuly-looking fellow 
with, ''Hey Kastus, where are you men from?" The col- 
ored gent, glancing up and resting momentarily on his im- 
plement, replied in all proudness and sincerity, "D'on you 
all know? I'se from de United States.'' And brother, he was 
proud of the fact. Proceeding on our way, we passed 
through the shell-torn village of Nieuvilly, and, leaving the 
highway, started across an open field or plain which was to 
lead us up into the trenches, which were situated on the op- 
posite side of a little hill. It was now a little past midnight ; 
a soft, caressing fall l^reeze was l^lowing, and the large silver 
moon high above was spreading its silver rays far and wide 
over the landscape. We noticed numerous star shells and 
flares being sent up from the German lines. They presented 
a beautiful sight. When about half way across this little 
plain, the Germans commenced sending over a few "Minnie- 
wurfers." We realized "Fritz" was getting nervous, and 
his flares and occasional shelling bore evidence to the fact. 
As the ''Minniewurfers" commenced coming over, an order 
was given to fall out and scatter in all directions and to lie 
down in the grass. His shells were exploding a little in our 
rear and we knew he was aware of our presence. Here we 
lay for some little time listening to the wicked whine of those 
missiles passing a little overhead. After once hearing the 
whine and l)uzz of A passing shell, you never forget the sound 
as long as you live. The explosions of these shells give a 
peculiai- sharp "blam" and do wicked work. Aftei- half an 
lioiiforso i( censed, ;iiid \\(' fell in mid pioeeeded on llie way. 
As we arrived within 200 yards of the hill in front of us, a 

The Sf. Mihid Drive 125 

larj;"o ^iin directly lo oui' \v{\ went off willi ;i t liuiulerous, 
deafening roar. As we had been unaware of its presence, it 
jarred us ('()nsideral)ly. Soon another gun a httle to our 
I'ight si)()k(* up ; in a few moments othei- guns were speaking 
in their deep-throated mannc^r. the "zero" hour was at 
hand, and the guns were, cautiously at first; opening up, as 
though endeavoring to get their range. Soon the entire -. 

Front for miles was ablast with the roar and shriek of hun- /iJ^fJr^ 
dreds of guns large and small. The six-hour death-dealing f^^ ^\^ 
bari'age which was to open the big Argonnc^ drive and pave 
the way for the advancing doughboys who were to go ov(m- 
the top at six o'clock in the morning, w ^. now busily at 
woi-k. The noise and concussion was deafening, and faces 
burned and eais rang in mad response. Hell had broken 
loose in all its fury. The greatest drive in all history was 
al)out to oj)en. The Third Battalion was already up in tluv 
lines awaiting the arrivaj of the regiment, and were now oc- 
cupying the departure trenches. We are now ready for the 
final and deciding drive of the great war. 



Over the toj) they bravely go, 
Our splendid sons to meet the foe. 
Facing the cannons' shot and shell, 
The gas and fire that taste of Hell. 

Over the top to pain and death, 
With hard, set faces and quickening breath, 
Covered with trench mud, knowing niuight 
But (he fighl ahead that mu.s( be fought. 

Over (he (op (lie modiers go, 
Each and all of them facing a foe, 
As dread and cruel as cannon's fire, 
As bursting bombs or barbed wire. 

Over the top! night after night 
With aching hearts they follow the fight. 
Striving to lull the yearning pain 
That calls their boys back home again. 

Over the top ! Two souls as one ; 

They go together, mother and son ; 

He with a purpose, she with a prayer. 

To the Father of all, in the great ''Out There." 

Following are the plans outlining the method of attack 
for our units. This would have proved most valuable to 
German spies the time the writer saw them, which happened 
to be the night of September 25, 1918. 


The Argotme Bailie \2 

Secret / 
Field Orders. \ Mai).s 

35th Division, France. 
24th Septem})ej-, 1918—5 p. m. 

Verdun — A. 

Forest de Argonne 1/20,000. 
. Verdun 1/80,000. 

I. (a) Object of the Offensive : 

The enemy holds the Hne from the Meuse to the 
Aisne River with five divisions. 

The First American Army attacks on the front 
between the Meuse and the Aisne Rivers. 

The Fifth Corps on our right and the French 
Fourth Army on our left will assist in reducing the 
Forest d' Argonne. 

(6) Mission of the First Army Corps : 

The First C^ori)s attacks on the front Vaquois (in- 
clusive), La Harazel (inclusive) with the 35th, 28th 
and 77th Divisions in line from right to left in the 
order named, and the 92nd Division in corps reserve. 
11. (a) Ceneral Plan : 

The 35th Division attacks, with the 91st Division 
of the Fifth Corps on the right and the 28th Divi- 
sion on the left. 

(6) Zone of Action : 

The boundaries of the zone of the 35th Division 

are : 

Right (east) Boundarij--Yiiquoii^ (inclusive ; 
Verrey (inclusive) ; 
Eclisfontaine (exclusive) ; 
Sommerance (inclusive) ; 
St. Georges (inclusive) ; 

128 Rcininiaceiicen of the 137th I'. S. liijindnj 

Left (wed) Boundary — BoureillcH (exclusive) ; 
Varennes (exclusive) ; 
Montblainville (exclu- 
sive) ; 
Apremoiit (exclusive) ; 
Fleville (inclusive) ; 
St. Juvin (exclusive). 

(c) Objective : 

Corps Objective — The heights southeast of Char- 
pentry connecting points 02.6-75.4 and 05.8-77.9. 

American Army Objective — A line through TEsper- 
ance, Hill Noet-Rebeau, La Neuvillele Comte Rnio. 

The Combined Army First Phase Line — east of 

The Combined Army First Oljjective — Line I kilo- 
meter south of line coiniecting C'lianipigneulle- 

Upon reaching the Combined Army First Objec- 
tive the line will be organized in depth for defense, 
and exploitation detachments pushed vigorously 
forwai'd to the Buzancy-Thenorgues-Talma line. 

The general direction of the attack will be north- 

The 35th Division will assist the 91st Division, 
Fifth Corps, in the reduction of Bois de Money and 
Le Petit Bois. 

IIL (a) Detailed Plans : 

The 35th Division will attack in cohunn of l)ii- 
gades, regiments side l^y side, each with one bat- 
talion in the first line, one in suj)})ort, and one in re- 

(6) Regimental Zone of Action : 
Regimental limits : 

Right Regiment: 

Right (east) limit — The right limit of the division, 

Aerial Taken by Ouk Aviators Three Days Bbfork Drive 
"Cheppy" in the Distance. 


The Argonne Battle 131 

Left (west) limit — Western edge Vauquois ; Hill 
207, to right regiment ; La Forge Min-Cheppy, to 
right regiment; height east of La Buanthe Raii- 
Charpentry, to the left regiment ; Ahaiidron Fme., 
to the left regiment ; Montrebeau, to the left regi- 
ment ; Ecermont, to the right regiment ; Sonmier- 
anee, to the right regiment. 
Left Regiment: 

Right (east) limit — West limit of the right regiment. 

Left (west) limit — The left limit of the division. 
(c) The following additional units are attached to the 
division : 

3rd Group 317th Regiment, 3 Batteries— 155. 

219th R. A. C. (French). 

2 Companies of light tanks. 

2nd Balloon Company. 

1st Aero Squadron. 

1 Battalion, 53rd Pioneer Tnfantr3^ 
{(I) Attacking Troops : 

The 69th Brigade with one battalion of 70th 
Brigade attached will lead the attack. 

To each first line and support battalion will be 
attached one machine gun company. 

The attack to include the corps objective will he 
made by the leading battalions. 

Parallel of departure for leading battalions, a line 
approximately 500 metres from the enemj^'s front 
trenches, junction with the 91st Division, Point 
06.7-70.5 ; junction with 28th Division, 03.8-70.0. 
The leading battahons will avoid Vaquois and Bois 
du Rossieret, mopping-up operation to stai't at con- 
(jlusion of smoke barrage. The battalion will join 
reserve brigade as it passes that point. 
{e) Reserve Troops : 

The 70th Brigade, less one battalion, will be used 
as reserve, and will follow the leading brigade at 
not more than 2 kilometers. 

132 NcfHinisrcncrs of fhc loTtli (\ S. Iiifdiilnj 

(J) \\i'll\AA'Al\ : 

The 60th Field Artillery Brigade, 3rd Group, 
316th Regiment, and the 219th R. A. C. (French) 
will take position in the woods south of the parallel 
of departure and support the attack. The artilleiy 
preparation will begin at H-x hours. 

The rolling barrage will connect with l^arrage of 
the 91st Division, Fifth Corps, at the initial point 
and advance at the rate of 100 meters in four min- 
utes, to include the hostile intermediate position, 
which position passes through \^arennes, south of 
dieppy, north of 216. 

The light artillery will be brought forward in 
echelon as the attack progresses, and will be pre- 
pared to cover the advance and to prevent counter- 
attacks up to the corps objective. After the corps 
ol^jective has been reached, all artillery will be 
moved forward by echelon to cover the furthei' ad- 
vance by the infantry. 

(3ne battery of light artillery will be attaclK^d to 
the first line to be used as forward guns. 

Special attention will l)e given to Vuiuiuois and lo 
the hostile intermediate line. 

One platoon of light artillery will be especially 
designated to support the tanks against fire from 
anti-tank guns, and a careful lookout will be kept 
for signals from airplanes calling for their support. 

(</) Combat Liaison : 

The Commanding General 69th Brigade, will 
send a coml^at group of one infantr}' company' and 
the machine gun platoon to maintain liaison with 
the 91st Division on the right, and a group of one 
company of infantry and one machine gun platoon 
to maintain liaison with the 28th Division on the 
left, along the Aire River. Regiments will maintain 
liaison with the regiments on their I'ight and loft by 
means of similar com])at groups. 

The Anionnc Baffle 133 

(//) I'^NCilNElORS : 

One company of En<i;inoors will be repor-ted to the 
Commanding; General 69th Brigade for use in cut- 
ting; wire and evercoming obstacles. 

Two platoons of Engineers will be reported to the 
Commanding (General ()9th Brigade to accompany 
the moppers-iip in ordei- to look for traps and con- 
cealed mines. 

One company (less one platoon) will l)e reported 
to the Corps Tank Officer to be used in assisting 
the advance of the tanks. 

(/) Aviation : 

The First Aero Squadron (Aei-odrome Remicourt) 
is attached to the Division for all aviation duties. 

One plane will be kept constantly over the Divi- 
sion sector of attack through the hours of daylight, 
and will be in constant communication by i-adio 
with the Division P. C. and the Artillery Battalion 
assigned for fugitive targets. Wlien required, con- 
tact patrols will be called foi- l)y exposing the ])anel, 
''Where are my front hue troops," at Division P. C. 
ill i(^s)M)nse to the call of the plane as it passes over- 
head. Messages containing full i-eports will be 
(Iropi)e(l on the return of the plane. 

A liaison officer from the Squadron will be at the 
Division P. C, and will be kept fully informed at all 
times. He will be responsible for seeing that orders 
are transmitted in the quickest possible way, and 
that results and reports are received without delay. 
Other planes will be sent out as ordercMl by the Di- 
vision Commander. 
( j) Aerostation : 

The Second Balloon Comi)any (station at I^Oi.l 
263.1) is assigned to the Division for all aerostation 
duties. Orders will be sent to tlu^ Balloon (bm- 
paiiy by Division Commander (hrect or through 
Division or Wing Conunander. 

134 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantrii 

Duiin^ (j])erations all balloons will ascend at 
dawn, Aveatlier permitting, and will i-eniain in con- 
tinuous ascension whenever observation is possible. 

(A) The 344th Tank BattaHon (less one company) is 
assigned to this Division. The Division will fur- 
nish the necessary Engineer personnel to accompany 
the tanks, and will insure artillery support. 

The Tank Companies attached to the Division 
will assist the advance of the troops. They will 
precede the infantry and clear paths through the 
wire, destroy machine-gun nests and assist in over- 
coming strong points. 

(/) Detailed Plans for Artillery : (See plan of ar- 
tillery Annex No. 1.) 

(//i) Plan of Engineers : (See Annex No. 2.) 

(n) Plan of Work for Organization of the Con- 
quered (iROUND : (See Annex No. 4.) 

(o) Plan of Long Range Machine Guns : (See An- 
nex No. 3.) 

ip) Plan of Gas : (See Annex No. 7.) 

{x) Combat troops will be in position on D day at 
H minus four hours. 

The infantry will advance from the parallel of 
departure at H hour under cover of a rolling bar- 
rage at the rate of 100 meters in 4 minutes up to 
the hostile intermediate position. 

The Division will be prepared to advance from 
the Corps Objective at H plus 43/2 hours. 

The advance beyond the Corps Objective will be 
covei'ed by latei- orders. 

Infantry regimental will be deployed in sufficient 
depth to give fresh impulse to the attack when nec- 

Penetration will be effected by utilizing lines of 
least resistance and outflanking strong points. 

The Anionnr Baftlf 135 

The attack iniisl he pushed with the greatest 

Defensive positions when occupied will be strongly 
organized in deptli and the tc^-i-ain in front boldly 

All ground passed over will be thoroughly mopped 
up. Moppers-up for leading battalions will be de- 
tailed from 2nd or 3rd line battalions and will join 
their units as they pass. 

IV. Liaison : (See plan of Liaison, Annex No. 5.) 

Axis of Liaison — Fme. de la Caille, La Cigalerie 
Fme., La Forge Moulin, Balantout, Baulny, Fee- 
ville, C'ommerance, St. Georges, Lnecourt, Bu/ancy, 
Bar, Fontenoy, St. Pierremon. 

The brigades and regiments on the left will locate 
their P. C.'s on or near the divisional Axis. 

Plan of Intelligence : (See Annex No. 6.) 

Plan of Communication Supply and Evacuation : 
(See Annex No. 0.) 

V. Command Post : 

Dugouts near the southern edge of woods on Les 
Cotes des Forimont. 

Peter E. Traub, 
Major General U. S. A., Commandinii. 

Headquarters 3otii Division, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
25th September, 1918. 
Appenda to Field Orders No. 44 : 

1. The artillery will put down a standing })arrage on the 
enemy front line from H to H plus 25. Infantry will leave 
their trenches at H hour, cut their wire, and approach as 
near as possible to the barrage, w^here they will lie down and 
await until ban-age lifts. 

136 Rpininiscenres of the 1S7th U. S. 1 nfaninj 

2. TIk' lolling l)arra|i;(' will halt for ten niimilcs on (lie 
hostile intenuediate objective and probably north of Verrey. 
The infantry line should halt at the same time. The rolling 
barraoe will continue past the intermediate objective as far 
as the range of the field guns, 

Ry command of Major General Traub. 
W. V. Gallagher, 

Lieutenant Colonel, G. S. G-3. 

Copies to 
Div. M. G. Officei-. 

1st Infantry. 
Headquarters 69th Infantry Brigade. 
American Expeditionary Forces 
25th December, 19 IS. 

To ('onivKUKhng OJficcrs, loTl/i and 138th Infantrij: 

1. Tlie a))()ve addenda to V. (). No. 44, .35th Division, will 
also be added to F. (). No. 29, 69th Bi-igade. This will be 
communicated at once to tlu* commanding officers of all 
units under youi* conunand. 

By oi'der of Colonel Nuttman. 
D. F. Davis, 
Major, Inf. U. S. A., Adjutant. 

Field Orders. 


Verdun — A. 
Foret d' Argonne. 
Vei-dun 1/20,000. 

I. (a) Object of the Offensive : 

The 1st American Army attacks on the front l)e- 
tween the Meuse and Aisne Hivc^-. 

The Argon nv Bailie 137 

{b) Genekal Plan of ;35th Division : 

The 35th Division attacks with 91st Division of 
the Fifth Corps on the right, and the 28th Division 
on the left. The boundary of the zone of the 35th 
Division : 

Riijiil {ead) Boundary — Vauquois (inchisive) ; 

Verrey (inclusive) ; 

Eclisfontaine (exclusive) ; 

Sommerance (inchisive) ; 

St. Georges (inchisive) ; 

Left (west) Boundary— BoreuiWes (exclusive) ; 

Varennes (exclusive) ; 

Mont]:)hiinville ( e x c 1 u s - 
ive) ; 

Apreniont (exchisive) ; 

Fleville (inchisive) ; 

8t. Juvin (exchisive). 

Objectives of the 35th Division are : 

Corps Objective — The heights southeast of Char- 
pen try, connecting points 02.6-75.4 and 05.8-77.9. 
American Army Objective — A line through I'Es- 
perance, Hill Montregeau, La Neuvilley le Comte 

The Combined Army First Objective — Line 1 kilo- 
meter south of line connecting Chainpigenull 

The Combined Army First Phase Line — East of 

Upon reaching the conihiiuMl army first objec- 
tive the line will be organized in depth for defense, 
and exploitation detachments pushed vigorously 
forward to the Buzancy-Thenorgues-Talma line. 

The general direction of the attack will be north- 
west. The 35th Division will assist the 91st Divi- 
sion, Fifth Corps, in the nnluction of Bois de Money 

138 Retniniscencc.s of the 1 37th U. S. Infantri/ 

and Le Petit Bois. The 35tli Division will attack 
in coluinn of })rigatle8, reg;iineiits side by side, each 
with one battalion in the front line, one in support 
and one in reserve. 

II. General Plan of 69th Brigade : 

(a) The 69th Brigade with one battalion of the 70th 

Brigade attached will lead the attack. In the })ri- 

gade the 138th regiment will be on the right, and 

the 137th regiment on the left. 
(6) The boundaries of the zone of the 69th Brigade 

are the same as those of the 35th Division, as given 

(c) The objectives of the 69th Brigade are the same 

as those of the 35th Division, as given above. 

(>/) The Regimental Zonp],s of Action are : 
WStfi Retjiimni: 

Right (east) limit — The right limit of the division- 

Left (west) limit — Western edge Vaquois ; Hill 
207, to 138th Regiment; La Forge in Cheppy, to 
138th Regiment ; heights east of La Bran the Rau- 
Charpentry, to the 137th Regiment ; Chaudron 
Fme., to the 137th Regiment; Montrebeau to the 
137th Regiment ; Exermont to the 138th Regiment ; 
Sommerance, to the 138th Regiment. 
137th Regiment: 

Right (east limit— West limit of the 138th Regi- 

Left (west) limit — The left limit of the division. 

III. Detailed Plans : 

The 138th Inf. (less 2nd Bn.), and with Co. B, 
129th M. G. Bn. attached, will attack in column of 

The 137th Inf. (less 1st Bn), and with Co. A 129th 
M. G. Bn. attached, will attack in column of bat- 

The An/Of INC HdKir 139 

One iiuicliiiie j2;uii company will be with each bat- 

The attack to include the Corps Objective will be 
made by the leading l)attalions. 

Parallel of departure for leading battalions — a 
line approximately 500 meters from the enemy's 
front line trenches ; junction with the 91st Divi- 
sion point 06.7-70.5; junction with the 28th Divi- 
sion 03.8-70.0. 

The leading battalions will avoid Baquois and the 
Bois du Rossignol, passing them by the flank. 

The attached battalion of the 70th Brigade will 
take station behind the first line battalion of the 
137th Infantry, H minus four hours and will fol- 
low that battalion closely. Two companies will be 
detailed to mop up Va(]uois and two companies to 
moj) up Bois du Rossignol. The mopping-up op- 
eration will start at conclusion of smoke; l)arrage. 
The battalion will join reserve brigade as it passes 
Bois du Rossignol. Mopping-up companies will 
exercise great care to avoid intermingling with the 
support battalions of the 137th Infantry, and will 
get out of its line of progress as quickly as possible . 
(6) 1st Battalion 137th Infantry, 2nd Battalion 138th 
Infantry and Companies C and D 129th M. G. Bn. 
under Major O'Connor will constitute the brigade 
reserve. It will take station behind the support 
battalions at H minus hours, and will follow them 
at about 700 meters. The machine gun companies 
will not join brigade reserve vmtil after arrival at 
Cote 221. 

(c) Artillery : 

The artillery preparation will begin at H — x hours. 
The rolling barrage will connect with barrage of 
the 91st Division, Fifth Corps, at the initial point 
and advance at the rate of 100 meters in four min- 
utes to include the hostile intermediate position 

140 • Reviinisccuces of the 137th V. S. Infdiifrij 

which pass(\s thi'ough Varenncs south of ('h('})py, 
north of 216. 

One battery of hght artiUery will be attached to 
the first line to be used as forward guns. 

((J) Engineers : 

One-half company of engineers will be attached 
to each infantry regiment for use in cutting wire 
and overcoming obstacles. The platoons of engi- 
neers will be attached to the battalion of the 70th 
Brigade, attached to the 69th Brigade to accom- 
pany the moppers-up in order to look for traps and 
concealed mines. When this battalion joins the 
Reserve Brigade as it passes the Bois du Rossignol, 
these two platoons will join the brigade reserve. 

(c) Aviation : 

One plane will l)e constantly o\'er the division 
sector of attack throughout the lion is of daylight. 

(/) Tanks : 
The tank companies attached to the division will 
assist the advance of the troops. They will precede 
the Infantry and clear paths through the wire, de- 
stroy machine gun nests and assist in overcoming 
strong points. 

((/) Plan of Lonc; Range Machine (Jun.s: (See 
Annex No. 3.) 

(//) Plan of Work for Organization of the C-gn- 
QUERED Ground : (See Annex No. 4.) 

(0 Plan of Gas : (See Annex No. 7.) 

(./) The Commander of the Brigade Reserve will send 
one infantry company to maintain liaison with the 
28th Division along the left (Aire River). One 
platoon of the Machine Gun compan}^ with the re- 
serve battalion of the 137th Infantry, will be at- 
tached. In like manner he will send one company 
with one platoon of the Machine Gun company with 

BiKDs-EYK View of the Akuonne. Vakknnes in the Distance. 

The Anjonne Battle 143 

the support battalion of the 137th Infantry 
attached, to maintain haison with the 91st Division 
on the right. Th(\se combat groups will follow 
closely the support battalions along the divisional 
boundary lines, and will protect the flanks of the 
bi'igades, in addition to maintaining liaison with the 
adjacent units. Regiments will maintain liaison 
with the regiments on their right and left by means 
of similar combat groups. 

General Instructions : 

Troops will be in position north of Les Cotes de 
Forimont on D day at H minus four hours. 

The infantry will advance from the parallel of 
departure of H hour under cover of a rolling bar- 
rage at the rate of 100 meters in 4 minutes up to 
the hostile intermediate position. 

The Division will be prepared to advance from 
the Corps Objective at H hour plus 4}/^ hours. 

The advance beyond the Corps Objective will be 
covered by later orders. 

Infantry regiments will be deployed in sufficient 
depth to give fresh impulse to the attack when nec- 

Penetration will be effected by utilizing lines of 
least resistance and outflanking strong points. 

The attack must be pushed with the greatest vigor. 

Defensive positions when occupied will be strongly 
organized in depth and the terrain in front boldly 

IV. Liaison : (See plan of Liaison Annex No. 5.) 

Axis of Liaison — Fme. de la Caille, La Cigalerie 

Fme., La Forge Moulin, Balantout Baulny, Fle- 

ville, Sommerance, St. Georges, Imecourt, Buzancy, 

Bai- Fontenoy, St. PicMremon. 

The I'cgimcnt on tlie left will locate its P. C.'s on 

or Jiear the divisional axis. 

144 Reminiscences of iJie lS7lh U. S. Infantri) 

Plan of Intelligence : (See Annex No. 6.) 

Plan of Communication Supply and Evacuation : 
(See Annex No. 8.) 

Command Posts : 

35th Division — Dugout.s near southern edge of 
woods on Les Cotes de Forimont. 

69th Brigade — Dugout on southern slope of Ma- 
nelon Blanc. 

138 Infantry^Dugout on southern slope of Ma- 
nelon Blanc. 

1 37th Infantry — Buzemont . 

L. M. Nuttman, 
Colonel, Infantry, U. S. A. 

The morning of Septenibei' 2Gth at 3 : 30 found the regi- 
ment in line and in their respective places in the trenches, 
which ran east and west a short distance south of BoureuUes 
and Vauquois. 

By this time the detonation of hundreds of guns, large and 
small, and the screech and whine of our shells passing on 
their deadly mission overhead, was something terrific. A 
description of the scene as it was there portrayed would be 
quite impossible. One had to be there in order to under- 
stand. As those brave mother's sons were awaiting the 
' ' zero ' ' hour when the barrage would lift and they would go 
over the top and out across that pulverized shell-torn ground, 
they rested as best they could down there in those dark 
trenches. Some were calmly reclining, others attempting 
to break the monotony of that watchful wait by indulging 
in one last bit of jest and a little dry humor. As great as 
the strain might be, they were not wont to show their real 

The AvfioNNc Batlic 145 

At 5:30 A. M. tlic signal hour broke, and as the barrage 
lifted, the commands were given, and the masses of olive 
drab forms, with helmets adjusted, gas masks in position, 
and rifle in hand, rose and s('am])ered up over the top and 
started for the CJerman positions across the way. Tlie en- 
tire division attacked with bi-igades in column, the ()9th 
Brigade, composed of the 137th and 138th Infantries, in ad- 
vance of the 70th Brigade, composed of 139th and 140th 
Infantries. The 69th Brigade attacked with regiments in 
line, the 137th on the left of the 138th Infantry. The 137th 
attacked with ])attalions in column, the Third Battalion 
under Major Koch in the first wave, with the Second in 
support, and the First Battalion, with pai't of the 138th In- 
fantry, constitut ing a Brigade I'eserve. 

Day was just dawning as the signal attack was made. A 
dense fog hung in the woods and over the open fields and 
valleys, and though it concealed for a time our attacking 
units, it made liaison difficult. The elTect of our six-hour 
barrage had been so thorough that the Boche fi'ont lines 
were }:)ulverized ])eyond recognition. As the boys advanced, 
they found few if any Germans in the first line ti-enches ; 
they had gone back into the second and reserve trenches. 
As the advance reached the second line ti'enches, the enemy 
commenced fire upon them, and soon a retaliatory fire of 
artillery, and machine-gun fire was in operation. Many 
Germans were found hidden deep down in dugouts, some 
forty feet below the surface. Those encountered in these 
dugouts surrendered readily. In the course of the initial 
drive, Vauquois Hill, whicli had remained impregnable 
against the Fi-ench assaults for four years, now came under 
American operations. This hill with its wonderful concrete 
fortifications had been blasted into bits ])v our artillerv 

146 hetniniscenccs of the l37Ui U . S. lufdnhij 

Approaching this liill^ tlie ailvaiicing column split up into 
factions and storming it from three sides, captured the posi- 
tions and what material remained. After passing Vauquois 
Hill the enemy resistance stiffened. Enemy machine-gun 
nests and strong points were encountered by the score, and 
the Boche artillery were burning up their guns by heavy fire, 
hoping to check the advance of the ''Yanks" before they 
could get well on their way. Up until this time the Germans 
seemed to believe that by doing their utmost the drive could 
be checked, but they were to discover American tactics to 
lie in another direction. Even the French officialdom who 
was observing the drive was given a surprise. "Those 

d Americans have no sense ; they know not when to 

stop ; they go against machine-gun fire barehanded." These 
were not uncommon remarks by some Allied observers. 
From Vauquois Hill to the Varennes and Cheppy road the 
advance, now withstanding stubborn resistance, was rapid 
and sure. Approaching this last named road, the enemy 
fire became so intense it was necessary for the Second Bat- 
talion to reinforce the Third. Varennes finally fell into our 
hands, and Companies "E" and ''F," commanded by Cap- 
tains Hudson and Rolfe, passed through the village. Beyond 
Varennes was situated what was known as the ''Grotto," a 
wooded hill surmounted by an ancient chapel and shrine. 
Numerous machine-guns were pivoted here, and a battery of 
"seventy-sevens" made it a "strong point" of no mean cal- 
ibre. The Grotto was taken by noon of the 26th by the 
Second and Third Battalions. 

After advancing all day and until long after dark, the 
regiment spent the night in the woods of the Grotto and on 
the open fields to the right. Here the various units were 
reorganized. The 70th Brigade had leapfrogged the 69th, 

The, Ar(i<>Ntir 11(1 1 He 147 

tho 140(11 liilmitry on the n^hi and (lie lo<)lli on llic Icll . 
The hne now extended from the right of Verrey to the fork 
of the road, a kilometer north of Varennes. 

The following morning, the 27th, just preceding daybreak, 
the advance was resumed. After moving ahead a short dis- 
tance, the 139th Infantry was held up by intense enemy fire 
from Charpentry. The entire division, in order to allow 
the attacking division on our left to catch up, remained sta- 
tionary the remainder of that day. While thus resting on 
the plain, the 137th was subjected to severe and punishing 
artillery fire and suffennl quite a number of losses in killed 
and wounded. The 70th Brigade remained in position 
through the 27th until 5 : 30 p. m., when orders were received 
to advance on the army objective. The 139th Infantry at- 
tacked northward and pushed through the outskirts of 
Charpentry, the 137th Infantry attacked to the left of this 
village, along the ravine of the Baunthe ; thus by this sweep- 
ing movement Charpentry fell. After the taking of Char- 
pentry, Colonel Hamilton, due to fatigue and severe illness 
was una])le to advance, and Major John H. O'Connor took 
command of the regiment, and his portrayal of courage and 
ability tended to inspire the men to supreme efforts, which 
soon led to the capture of Baulny. Colonel Hamilton, al- 
though suffering many hours from illness and complete fa- 
tigue, did not desire to relinquish command ; and in this con- 
nection I wish to call the reader's attention to a picture which 
appeared stern but touching in reality. An officer sent out 
with orders for the regiment's advance, came upon Colonel 
Hamilton, Adjutant Bonney and Captain Ellis, who were lying 
out on an open plain in a large shell hole. As the officer 
approached he found Colonel Hamilton stretched out full 
length in that hole face upward and arms prone. His face 

148 Remini.'^cenccs of the 137th U. S. Infaiitrj/ 

was (l(>atlil.y while and drawn ; he lay as dead. Adjutant 
Bonney was sitting" down (hei'o with head bowed over on his 
chest dead to the world. Captain Elhs was sitting close by 
working out plans. The regiment w'as resting in numerous 
fox holes out there on the plain. As the officer arrived, he 
communicated the order, "The regiment will advance upon 
their objective and will start in five minutes." Colonel 
Hamilton, who with the other officers there in that shell hole 
had gone without food and sleep for two days and nights, 
opened his eyes, and with bare strength replied, ''Major, I 
say frankly, I could not move a foot if my very life depended 
upon it." Refusing houi's before to seek a little lest due to 
his indomitable will and desire to lead his men, he was now 
forced by nature's call to hearken to bodily needs. 

As the regiment ' advanced on this attack, Baulny was 
taken. This town stood on the crest of a high hill command- 
ing the valley across which the attacking troops must ad- 
vance. The First Battalion of the 137th led the attack, 
with the Third in sui)port and the Second in reserve. How- 
ever, the town w^as so well defended that the Second and 
Third Battalions were ordered up in unison and co-operated 
in the capture of this tow^n. Passing through, the regiment 
took up positions on the slope north of Baulny on the night 
of the 27th. 

Quoting from my diary, which I kept notated from time 
to time as the drive progressed, and at times writing same 
under strange conditions, it reads as follows : 

''Boys advancing rapidly. Difficult for artillery to keep 
up. The congested traffic along the roads leading up and 
the oceans of soft mud cause much worry and hardship to 
our brave fellows manning the guns. Saw one gun being 
drawn by hand ; fellows look all in, and the lack of additional 

The Argonne Battle 149 

a,i-iill(My places uiidiic li.Midsliij) on oui' own ^un forces, l)ui 
they ai'e i-espondiii^- nobly. Many hundreds of })risonei-s ai'e 
being; taken to the rear. On the average they appear well 
fed and clothed. Many have their packs rolled, and it ap- 
pears as though the}' had planned to give up at the first op- 
portunity. Boys meeting heavy and concentrated enemy 
fire from all sides. German artillery firing point blank in 
many instances, a hitherto unheard of thing. Hear many of 
the boys complaining about lack of aeroplane support. Ger- 
man planes coming over shooting into the ranks, and do so 
at their leisure. We are wondering where all of our heralded 
planes are. Must be something wrong when a doughboy 
notices this lack of something which should be essential. 
Heard one fellow say, 'Well, if we don't get the support 
from those birds, we will do oui- durndest with what we 
have; we have the 'Dutch' on \\w run now, and aim to 
keep them going.' " 

All such little notes and tabulations I recorded in a daily 
dairy, for I thought that some day they might prove inter- 
esting reading, and as the days come and go I spend hours 
over these little notations, and each little reference conveys 
an entire story, and I can, like so many others, look back 
upon that time when things were in the making and histor}^ 
was receiving new annals of events. 

The 28th Division on our left was fighting on the edge of 
the Argonne Wood proper and met with exceptionally strong 
resistance due to the natural defenses, and this was responsi- 
ble for slower progress on their part. However, the result 
of this extended advance of the 35th and the slowing of the 
28th on our left caused the Germans to attempt two flank 
attacks on two different occasions. But our men, perceiving 
their intentions, were quick to thwart their designs, and both 
flank attempts failed with due losses for the Germans. 

150 IxcHi/N/snnrcs of flic I37U( U. S. I iifanlrti 

Cuinpiiiiy "1," Cuphiiii llaiiy i*\ (liovcs, niul (\)iiipaii3' 
^^D," Captain Miles E. Canty, supported by one platoon of 
the 129th Machine Gun Battalion, were designated as com- 
bat liaison with the 28th Division on our left. They met 
strong resistance the entire day of the 27th, and suffered 
heavy casualties. 

The morning of September 28th, as the regiment lay en- 
trenched in fox holes on Baulny Ridge, the Germans launched 
a counter attack from Montrebeau Wood. The First Bat- 
talion occupied the front line, with the Third Battalion in 
support and the Second in reserve. This overture on the 
part of the Germans was repulsed with slight losses on our 
side. At 6 : 30 a. m. the following morning, following tanks 
and a rolling artillery ])arrage, we advanced on our final ob- 
jective through Montrebeau Wood. Colonel Hamilton now 
rejoined the regiment and took command. The positioii at 
the northern edge of Montrel)eau Wood was held tlu-oughout 
the daj^ of the 28th and until the morning of the 29th. 

At 5 A. M. of the 29th, orders were given to attack Exer- 
mont. The attack was made following a light barrage. It 
met with fierce resistance, and the losses were heavy. We 
succeeded in occupying a portion of Exermont. It was a 
trying set-to, and the Germans were using quite a little gas, 
and, added to this, the Boche planes would at times become 
quite numerous, making life miserable ; but all these added 
factors caused no check to our plans. The spirit was won- 
derful throughout. During the afternoon of this day we were 
afforded a novel sight. A German flying a captured Allied 
plane, came flying over our lines. No one gave it much 
thought, as the Allied insignia was plainly in evidence. 
Three of our large observation balloons were quietly soaring 
in the breeze and their pilots were occupied watching the 

The Anionnc IkiUlc 151 

l)rogress of 1 lie drive ; wIumi tins plane was directly over the 
first bag-, it was seen to suddenly drop, and the pilot, open- 
ing up his machine gun, hit his mark, and there was a great 
puff of heavy black smoke, and the bag form was no more. 
The balloon pilot executed a novel parachute stunt and landed 
safely. Passing quickly on to the second and third (consecu- 
tively the Boche administered like punishment, and all three 
balloon pilots made a hasty exit via the parachute route. 
As the German finished his mission he turned nose for the 
Hhineland, but had not gone far until he was brought down. 
However, he had performed some fast and clever work, even 
though flying an Allied plane. He was probably aware of the 
aerial signals used, and manipulated accordingly, thus pene- 
trating as far as he did. Surely a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

During the advance of the 29th, Colonel Hamilton became 
a victim of gas and shell shock, and was evacuated to a 
hospital. Major O'Connor once more took command of the 
regiment. In the attack upon Exermont, Captain Harry 
Grove and Lieutenants Ricord and Boyd, with men of Com- 
pany "I" and other units, found themselves isolated and 
cut off from the main body, and remained in a little patch of 
wood for many trying hours. They remained in this pre- 
carious position surrounded by the enemy throughout the 
day, and all the while fearing that they would be fired upon 
by their own advancing men, who knew nothing of their 
whereabouts. Making a run for it after nightfall through 
a7i enemy barrage, they were able to make their escape and 
rejoined their units. We were now capturing a great num- 
l)ei- of German guns and stores of ammunition, and often 
these captured guns were turned upon the retreating enemy. 

At the time of our attack upon Exermont, due to casual- 
ties, our force was small, and this increased the difficulty of 

152 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infaniry 

taking a difficult poiiil. As the regiment hail driven a 
wedge into the German hne, we were subjected to intense 
artillery fire from three sides — the two flanks and from the 
front. As previously mentioned, due to unsurmoimtable 
difficulties such as the rapid advance, the congested roads 
and the mud, the artillery found it very difficult to keep up, 
for no sooner would they come up and ''get set" than an 
order would come for them to ''move up," as the line was 
advancing rapidly. Major Kalluck who had taken command 
of the units attacking Exermont, ordered the thin line hold- 
ing the point of the wedge to retire to its former position at 
the northern edge of Montrebeau Wood. This position was 
held until 7 : 30 p. m., when orders from Division Head- 
quarters ordering the regiment to withdraw to the Engineer's 
line of resistance along the Apremont-Ecksfoutaine road 
north of Baulny. Here, on the night of October 1st, the 
35th Division was relieved l)y the 1st Division. This was 
accomplished under cover of darkness. 


During our participation in the greatest military drive 
ever recorded in the annals of history, namely, the Argonne 
offensive, the various phases of this gigantic movement por- 
trayed a picture kaleidoscopic in dramatic and spectacular 
coloring. Preceding the opening of the initial attack on the 
morning of September 26th, the men had made a hard night 
march to reach their respective attacking positions. They 
went into the attack quite tired and hungry, but with a deter- 
mination to do or die. During the six days and nights of the 
advance they enjoyed little if any sleep, very little food, and 
whatever they did eat was cold ; no shelter from the cold and 
rain; the only "chambres" were the numerous shell holes. 

The Anjonnc Battle 153 

Packs had been left behind, as they were stripped for action, 
and burdensome ])acks would only prove a hindrance to their 
movements. They carried a canteen of water and two days' 
reserve rations. As the drive progressed, it was with great 
difficulty that rations could be bi'ought up to the lines. Can- 
teens were soon emptied, and they drank water wherever 
they could find it — in shell holes, crevices, and in fact any 
place where water was obtainable. The eating of cold rations 
out of unwashed mess kits, this drinking of foul water, and 
the exposure and strain, caused every man to suffer from 
dysentery. The strain of the drive on the physical being 
was terrific, and the strain on the nerves of the men facing 
machine gun and artillery fire, seeing comrades blown to 
death, the sight and sound of wounded and dying, presented 
a gruesome panorama that was beyond description. 

However adverse and trying conditions sometimes were, 
the men remained at their posts, portraying the utmost cour- 
age and devotion to duty. The course taken by the 35th 
Division lay over dangerous and treacherous ground, through 
woods filled with machine gun nests, through small villages, 
over plains and high hills, the latter always well fortified with 
machine guns and artilleiy. Of the difficulties met by our 
division, such as the attack upon Exermont and Montrebeau 
Wood, much has already been said. Just previous to being 
relieved, we were ordered to fall back to a given position. 
After the 1st Division had relieved us and while attempting 
passage through the above named places, which conse(iuently 
had to be done once more, and this time by the relieving divi- 
sion, they were held up three days, in which time additional 
corps artillery was brought up, and they were comp(^lled to 
l)last their way through. As our division was one of the 
''kickoff" divisions which started the drive, much had to be 

154 Reniinisccncc.s of the 137lh U . S. Itifanlry 

accomplished from the very start. It was our business to 
stir up the hornets' nest and get them on the move. They 
had been holding this line for four years and had things fixed 
up for a long stay. The French had tried repeatedly to wedge 
them out, but each attempt had been likened to l^utting 
against a stone wall. All '' concrete" appeared alike to the 
Yanks ; walls, fences or human domes were in the same cate- 
gory, and all were swept aside. 

It was a novel and interesting sight to watch those awk- 
ward-looking little flat-bellied crunching and rattling tanks 
wend their course ; sometimes down through a deep de- 
pression and up the opposite side; through wire entangle- 
ments which appeared as so many silken threads to these 
crawling creatures, straight into machine gun nests, crush- 
ing everything under foot. The 137th Infantry advanced 
approximately fourteen kilometers, capturing hundreds of 
prisoners, much material and guns, took the formidable posi- 
tions on Vanquois Hill, the towns of Varennes, Baulny, and 
Cheppy, took Montrebeau Wood and gained a temporary 
foothold in Exermont, and helped materially in the successful 
initiative of the great American drive which swept on to Sedan. 


Of the officers, some were killed and a large per cent were 
wounded more or less severely, or put out of action by shell 
shock or gas. On the fourth day of the drive Colonel Hamil- 
ton was evacuated to the hospital from the effects of gas and 
shell shock. Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Tucker had been sent 
back to a hospital on the morning of September 27th, on ac- 
count of sickness. Major O'Connor commanded the regiment 
following loss of Colonel Ilaniiltoii from the organization. 

The Arijonne Balik 155 

Major Joseph J. Koch, who coiiiinaiuled the Third Battahon 
at the beginning of the drive, was put out of action by a gun- 
shot wound in the first hour of the battle and his place was 
taken by Captain D. H. Wilson, next in command. Captain 
Fred H. Vaughn, who led the Second Battalion into the drive, 
was wounded by machine-gun fire in the attack on Baulny, 
the command of the battalion passing to Captain Ben S. 
Hudson, who was himself woimded on the morning of the 
third day of the attack on Montrelx'au Wood. First Lieu- 
tenant E. J. Dorsey, regimental intelligence officer, received 
wounds on the second day of the drive from which he later 
died. First Lieutenant Verne R. Wilson, Third Battalion 
Adjutant, was severely wounded in Montrebeau Wood on 
the third day of the drive. First Lieutenant Clide Keller, 
Third Battalion intelligence scout officer, was killed in action 
in the attack on Montrebeau Wood the morning of Septem- 
ber 28. First Lieutenant John T. Duncan, Second Battalion 
liaison officer, received wounds on the second day, from which 
he later died in a field hospital. First Lieutenant E. J. Bowen, 
First Battalion intelligence officer, was wounded the morn- 
ing of third day in the attack on Montrebeau Wood. First 
Lieutenant Verne G. Breese, in command of '^D" Company, 
was severely wounded in the same advance. Second Lieu- 
tenant Krinsky, of ^^ A" Company, lost his life in the counter 
attack made by the Germans on the third day of the fighting. 
Second Lieutenant Chas. R. Gerner, of ''D" Company, was 
taken prisoner by Germans in the early moining of the third 
day of the drive. Many of the officers in the line companies 
were put out of action ]\y wounds. The I'cgimental gas officer 
niid (wo baltahon gas officers wei'e tliemselves gassed while 
taking precautions to save the men. 

156 Ueniiniscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 


The regiment suffered 1289 casualties. Of this number 107 
were killed in action, 38 died of wounds, 1060 were wounded 
more or less. A great number suffered from gas and shell 
shock. We had 39 taken prisoner, and 49 listed as "miss- 
ing." Just previous to entering the drive, the regiment regis- 
tered 3100 men, of whom 2800 w^ere combatant troops. The 
German casualties were exceedingl}^ large according to in- 
formation obtained through our intelligence section. Ger- 
man dead littered the fields here and there. The enemy was 
not given time to bury his dead, as his retreat was forced 
during certain stages of the battle. It was the custom of 
the Germans to carry back their dead, as they did not want 
us to know to what extent their casualty lists numbered. 
This custom had been observed throughout the war. 

While advancing over the Varennes-Baulny road, a pecu- 
liar sight was accorded the advancing doughboys. A German 
ration wagon filled with German dead stood there alongside 
the road. Two beautiful white horses lay dead in their har- 
ness ; the driver was sitting upright in his seat with head 
inclined on his chest. He had been conveying the wagon- 
load of dead back to the German lines, when a shell hit close 
])y killing driver and horses. 

A description of the German trenches and dugouts as seen by 
the doughboys while advancing, and especially those places 
seen by the ones "mopping up," might be of interest. The 
Germans had been living here for four years, and during that 
time had fixed things up in an elaborate style. Concrete 
dugouts and trenches comi)osing the Hindenburg line had 
given them reason to feel that their positions were impreg- 
nable against any Allied ovei-tures. In some places there 
were reinforced concrete dugouts forty feet below the ground 

77/r AriionHc lidUlc If)? 

and c'uiilainiii^ clectj'ic lights aiul riiriiisliings fit ior m kiiiji;, 
but in this case probably had been fitted for Ye Kaisei- and 
his '^Ub(M- Alles" following. Underground naiTow gaug(> 
railroads were used to ])rin<2; up anununition and supi)lies to 
the front lines without detection from the Allies. Even 
uiidergi'ound bathrooms, containing all the e([uii)ment of a 
modern up-to-date "chambre de wash" (Yank language), 
porcelain tubs and basins, and '^everything." A miniature 
water S3^stem of hot and cold water and — "'Tenshun dough- 
boy!" — you remember those elaborate shower baths which 
you longed to get under? In some of their canteens entered, 
well stocked shelves met the eye, and the doughboy feasted 
on sugar, bread, all varieti(\s of vc^getables^. and — well, Kan- 
sas don't care now — quite a little of the Kaiser's favorite 
wine was discovered, which went very well at that tim(\ 
As one fellow said : 

"I went down into one of these canteens, and upon enter- 
ing found a German, who had (widently been ovei'looked, 
sitting there on a sack o« potatoes, with a bottle of win(^ in 
one hand and a piece oi black bread in the other. He was 
stewed to the gills aii/rf was having the time of his life, not 
even realizing that t^re was a war or anything else. I com- 
manded him to surR'nder, which he did quite willingly, and 
after I had searched him I told him to be seated. I couldn't 
speak 'Dutch,' l)ut he understood me and sat down. About 
that time I liai)pened to think of that wine, and being dry 
I wanted a drink, but before I touched that bottle I made 
him take a drink as a pr(*caution from a i-us(\ If he drank 
it and lived, I thought I could pull through also. I did not 
have to give any second conunand for him to manipulate that 
bottle, but he innnediately placed it to his mouth and pass- 
ing up the drinking part, he poured it down, until fearing I 
would lose out, (;onnnanded him to halt. I tried a little of 
tlie stuff, and it tasted so well I api)eared as the last number 

158 Renimi licences of the 137th U . S. Injantrij 

on that particular program. Five minutes afterward I could 
have whipped the whole German army. Later, I turned 
the soused captive over to a passing prisoner detail and pro- 
ceeded on my way. Boy, if they had fed the entire American 
army with some of that stuff, they w^ould have gone right 
through to Berlin the first day." 

As the doughboys had been warned previous to going into 
the drive to be wary of any captured articles, they used every 
precaution such as the above portrays. Many interesting 
incidents occurred, and the drive had its amusing and 
fascinating moments as well. Numerous pianos and other 
musical instruments were found in some of these dugouts. 
^' Fritz" had no doubt grown weary at times of the War 
God's symphonic melodies, and he had no doubt often turned 
his attention to old favorite masterpieces, and at the same 
time polishing up his somewhat rusty nuisical temperament, 
by indulging in such classical categories as ^'Die Wacht am 
Rhine" and ''Deutchland uber Alles." 

During the second day of the drive, one of the tanks which 
had been advancing ahead of the line was seen to halt. One 
of the doughboys approaching same, discovered that the 
driver had been wounded and unable to continue. Although 
knowing little about the mechanism of one of these mon- 
sters, but being a mechanic at heart, he told the gunner he 
would run the 'Marn thing," and climbed in. Trying out 
the different controls he finally discovered which was which, 
and at the word started the tank out across the plain. It 
followed that, with this doughboy at the helm and the gunner 
in position, this tank ran down several machine gun nests, 
and otherwise caused considerable damage to the enemy. 
As far as is known, no D. S. C. has been awarded this lowly 
doughboy and his able cohort. 



The Argonne Battle 159 

One individual, often trampled upon and censured in this 
man's army, has been our venerable ''Mess Sergeant." Of 
course all directors of the culinary art were not of the same 
mould. At times we found some who were most conscien- 
tious and efficient. In this instance, I desire both through 
courtesy and due to the appreciation of one company of men, 

to make mention of Mess Sergeant ''Baldy" , of ''I" 

Company. During the six days and nights our regiment 
was in the drive, dui'ing which time the rationing and trans- 
porting food to the men was extremely difficult owing to the 
intense back area fire of the enemy and the advance of our 
own men, old ''Baldy," commandeering an old abandoned 
artillery horse which was found wandering around, and de- 
voting his entire time in attempting to get rations up to his 
men, succeeded several times in spite of the enemy and what 
they did. Each morning at an early hour, provisions would 
be strapped on the back of the old charger and away the two 
new acquaintances would go. Several times he had to 
abandon his mission due to conditions up front, but he was 
always back at the first opportunity, and succeeded in getting 
through after various attempts. His one and only thought 
was, ''of the boys." The writer saw him several times dur- 
ing the drive, and each time found him "policing" around 
attempting to obtain some eats for "his boys." There was 
no more popular man in that company than old "Baldy." 


It was at Varennes, the same Varennes where the 137th 
Infantry fought the Germans, that in 1791 was the meeting 
place of a groceryman and a king who changed the destiny 
of France. It was the same Varennes, the same \^auquois, 

1()() Ucniiiiii^vciiccs of I he I,j7lh IL S. I iif(uilrti 

the same Nieuvilly, the same Verrey, the same Cheppy, the 
same Charpeiitiy, that in the following year saw Brunswick's 
Hessians rolling on toward Paris. 

In the village of Saint Menehoukl, old Dragoon Droeut 
was standing one sunnner evening in the doorway of the 
Maltre de Poste. He saw postilions whip their way down the 
street and eanght a glinii)se of a face within the carriage, a 
face he had seen befoi-e in Paris. He remembered that face. 
It was Marie Antoinette. Droeut was a patriot. This at- 
tempted escape of the king and queen meant civil war. He 
was quickly on horseback speeding for Varennes. It was 
there the escape must l)e stopped or civil war was certain. 
On this night of spm-s Droeut was at Varemies long before 
the Berlin coach cai'rying the king and (lueen. At the Bras 
D'Or Tavern he wliispered to Boniface Le Blanc, who was 
serving some late ])atr()ns at llie wine table. Le Blanc 
whispered to others. M. Sausse, the old groceryman, was 
soon on the scene, with his hair disheveled and his shirt 
tucked in badly. The town tocsin began booming, sending 
into the night a sunnnons for the patriots. They blocked 
the bridge over the Aire on the outskirts of Varennes with an 
old furniture wagon. When the Berlin rolled up, it was 
halted by the patriots, headed by old Dragoon Droeut and 
the groceryman, M. Sausse. It was useless for Louis XVI 
to parley, for the patriots had troops and he had none. He 
slaved that night at the Bras D'Or Tavern (which stands 
[\\v\v now with nothing but fire-withered walls showing), 
drank Burgundy wine and ate cheese and bread because no 
better was offered, and the next day was returned to Paris. 

It was the next year, September 2, 1792, that Brunswick, 
with his Hessians troopers had occupied Verdun and was 
pressing for the passes of the Argonne toward Paris. His 

The An/ofinc Ihilllc Hil 

forces rolled on toward the French ca]:>ital ovei- the same 
territory taken at such deadly cost by thc^ l)^7th Infantry. 
The Argonne Forest has but four natural passes, each a 
Thermopylae in itself. Wheeling to the south, Brunswick 
was able to force Grand-Pre pass. It rained, rained day and 
night, for so many days and nights that ditches overflowed and 
roadways were nearly impassable — an unplanned for enemy 
in Brunswick's well planned triumphant mai'ch to Parte. 
Dumouri(v/s men wei'e but i-agged, sci'apping, pi'odu(tts of the 
revolutionary period. But Brunswick with his trained 
Hessians would have hurtled as fruitfully against a rock-like 
wall. He tried repeatedly, thundering with trained skill 
against the '^ great unwashed" which stood for France's 
liberty, but was sent staggering back from Valmy repeatedly, 
with battered and gaping ranks. Th(M-(^ in 1 he same Argonne 
where the 137th Infantry fought, Dumoui'icz's faith in his 
scrappings of soldiery saved France. 


The Machine Gun Company of the b37th Infantry, com- 
manded by Lieutenant W. F. Maring, did some excellent 
work during the drive. The company divided into thre(^ 
platoons and worked s(^parately of each other. The First 
Platoon, under Lieutenant Maring, was attached to Com- 
pany "E"; the Second Platoon, undei- Li(Mitenant W. H. 
Kane, to Companies ''F" and ''H," and the Thii'd Platoon, 
under Sergeant James Lynas, to Company "D." 

These platoons advanced with their j-espective units and 
rendered valuable assistance. On the morning of the 28th, 
the entire Machine Gun Company assisted in repulsing the 
German countei- attack and put over a barrage for the ad- 
vance of our infant ly into Montrebeau Wood. Always up 

162 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

with the aflvancing hue, the coni])any suffertnl a number of 
casualties, which was given as forty-two out of a httle more 
than one hundred men, or nearly fifty per cent. The 139th 
Machine Gun Battalion also played an important part. 
Under command of Lieutenant Clarence Shaeffer, they cov- 
ered every movement by the infantry. Whenever the in- 
fantry would be held up by machine gun fire, our gunners 
would put over a neutralizing fire and the infantry would ad- 
vance. Company '*A" suffered forty killed and twenty- 
eight wounded, and lost six guns. 


Three months after the Argonne drive, and while visiting 
the scenes of the battle, the picture would be painted thus : 
"Vauquois Hill is easily recognizable as the German strong- 
hold that was supposed to have been impregnable. Shell 
holes that overlap each other and splintered stumps that in- 
dicate a former woods bear witness to the terrible effective- 
ness of the American artillery fire. Baulny church stands 
high on Baulny Ridge, overlooking the ground over which 
our troops approached. Groups of wooden crosses in fives 
and sixes tell the price paid for this town. The ''fox holes" 
on Bauln}^ Ridge are just as the occupants left them, only 
near by are more wooden crosses, and here and there a sal- 
vage pile of battered helmets, mess kits and broken rifles. 
Many of the helmets have holes in them ; all have the regi- 
mental insignia upon them. The shell holes in the ground 
were made by the Boche artillery when the infantry got out 
of the fox holes to repulse a German counter attack. A row 
of fox holes along the north edge of Montrebeau Wood marks 
the old front line where another counter attack was stopped. 
There is not a sound or a living thing in Exermont. It is 

The Argonne Battle 163 

still a quartci- past ten by the old town clock, just as it was 
that eventful day. The trail of the 137th Infantry from the 
"junipoff" through to Exerniont is a silent but indisputable 
witness to the high valor and spirit of self-sacrifice which 
alone could have carried men over such a path. Those of 
our fallen comrades now lie over there beneath that historic 
soil of the ancient Argonne, their souls gone from this earth, 
their dead bodies guarded by the lilies of France. 

prisoners' statements. 
Among some of our comrades who were captured by the 
enemy during the drive, many and varied interesting tales 
are told. Being released upon the signing of the armistice, 
they were given their liberty, and it was not long until they 
returned and rejoined their units. I am herewith tender- 
ing a few of the best : 

Corporal James Baranek, Co7npany ''D." 

^'At daybreak September 28th, we looked around us and 
Germans were everywhere. They seemed to be getting ready 
for an attack. One German approached the shell hole where 
we Americans were. He seemed to be looking for a place to 
plant a machine gun. We ordered him to surrender and 
get into the shell hole with us. He turned to run, but we 
fired and he fell dead near the shell hole. The Germans 
then made a rush upon us, but we resisted and drove them 
back, wounding some and killing others. But with the aid 
of a machine gun and hand-grenades the Germans closed in 
again. Lieutenant Gesner said, 'Men it's no use to resist 
any longer.' And we (there were six of us, Lieutenant 
Gesner, two corporals and three privates) tied a towel to a 
bayonet and stuck it up out of the hole. The Germans 
ceased firing and rushed up excitedly. A dozen or more of 
the Germans kicked at us and attempted to strike us with 
fists or guns, but others seemed to be trying to keep their 
comrades fi'om treating the Americans with cruelty. We 

164 Jxcfuin/sccNCcs of the 137th ('. S. / nfanlrij 

were taken l^ack (hi()Uj>;li Flaville to Buzancy, then to Vour- 
ieres, and a few days later to Le Chesne, and finally to Sedan." 

Private Jake'Yalure, Company "A." 

''There were eleven of us, and we were taken prisoners at 
4 : 30 p. M. September 29th. The Germans took us luxek 
through their lines under fire from American artillery. We 
]-eached a smalltown, where we were questioned and searched. 
We were given no supper. Next morning we were marched 
on back toward Germany. We marched all day and part of 
that night without food. On that night we got into Sedan 
where we were given barley soup. We remained in camp at 
Sedan three days, and then, having been gassed, I was sent 
back to a hospital at this same place. All I had there was 
barley soup and black bread. The place was full of fleas. 
Every day we had to carry out the dead from the hospital. 
On November 3rd we were taken to Rastatt, where there was 
an American prison camp. Our clothes were in rags, and 
the poor food had made us weak. 41ie American Red ( 'ross 
fitted us out with clothes and gave us packages of food. 
They also gave us tobacco, and I had my first smoke since 
my capture, September 29th. . . . The Germans said 
they never saw such fearless soldiers as those of the 35th 
Division. The harder the machine guns fired the faster the 
35th Division advanced." 

Private Fred C. Jordan, Company "A." 

"I was captured the 29th of Septem])er about 5 p. m. 
After we got })ack of the German lines we were made to 
carry some of the wounded Roches, which was not an easy 
job. We carried them, as it seemed, two kilometers ])efore 
tliei(^ was a first aid station. The Americans were putting 
uj) a lieavy shell fire, through which we had to go. After we 
left tlie first aid station we were taken back a little distance, 
where we were searched, and they took eveiything I had 
{^xcept a little Rible and some small change. From there 
they took us from one place to another ; then they took us 
to Sedan. We were almost starved, and sick. There they 
made us woi-k, hitching us to heavy wagons and making us 

The Argonnc BalUr K)') 

pull heavy lotuls. We were made to help with the loadinj):; 
of lieav.y ^iins and wagons on trains so they could move out. 
The}^ expected the Americans most any time. Our aero- 
planes did come every night. I expected to be killed by 
some of our own shells. We stayed in Sedan until Octo})er 
16th, when we were, taken to Rastatt to the American prison 
camp. From then on we wer(^ kept by the American Red 
Cross. I was never so glad to get^anything in all my life as 
I was when I got the first Red Cross box." 

Private Robert Timmons, Co^npany " A\" 

''I was captured between three and foui- o'clock Septem- 
ber 29th. There were eight of us in the bunch. We went 
to some town back of the German lines, the name I do not 
know\ We were taken from there to another town b}^ name 
of Buzancy, where the non-commissioned officers were taken 
from us to be questioned. While they wei-e up in the room, 
there was a Gei'man came down and asked us a few ques- 
tions; the first (juestion asked was, 'What oi'ganization do 
you belong to?' We told him what outfit we })elonged to, 
and then he wantcnl to know who was on oui- I'ight and left. 
We told him we didn't know. Then h(^ told us. From h'ere 
we were taken to Sedan, where the (Jei-mans had repair 
shops for i)ig guns. 1 worked here at loading big guns to 
be shipped back to CJermany. I also worked at a bakery. 
I did this for about ten days, and then went to a hospital. 
I stayed in Sedan about three weeks, and then was taken to 
Cerver-shien, a big hospital town in Germany, and was 
kept there twenty-five days. We w(^re treatenl better than 
the English and French were. The Cierman High Command 
had given order's not to treat Americans like the i-est of ihv 
]:)i'isoners. Next went to Rastatt and stayed twenty-six 
days, then got clothes and food from the American Tioi] 
( 'ross." 

Private Fred M. Sauer, Company '' E.'' 

'^I was captured September 29th, about 4 o'clock p. m. 
Eight of us met a man dressed in an American uniform and 
wearing the insignia of a Lieutenant. He told us the l.S7th 

166 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Tnfaritri/ 

Infantiy was aliead and ncoded vi.s, Un- (he Geriiiaiis were 
counter-attacking, so we hastened forward through the 
woods. After leaving the woods, machine gun fire behind 
and on each flank caused us to take cover in a shell hole, and 
the Germans surrounded us and took us prisoners. We were 
taken back to a small town, but the American artillery fire at 
this point was so great that we moved farther back. Here 
an officer questioned me (in German). I tried to make him 
believe I did not understand, but he suspected that I did, 
and ordered the guard (in German) to take me out and 
shoot me. I learned later that the German soldiers had re- 
ceived orders not to abuse American prisoners." 

Private James R. Mussel, Company "E.'' 

*'0n our way back as prisoners we carried two Americans 
and a German to a dressing station. There were many dead 
Germans behind their lines. Our artillery was playing havoc 
with their men. We were taken to a small village and 
searched. Shells from our own artillerj^ were dropping into 
the village. We were questioned. I was asked our objec- 
tive. I said, 'Berlin, sir.' *Do you think you will get 
there? ' ' I won't, sir ; but the Yanks will if the war does not 
end.' 'Who was on your right and left?' 'I don't know, 
sir.' 'I will tell you, then. The 91st on your right and 
Pershing's Iron Men on your left.' I said, 'Who are Per- 
shing's Iron Men?' He said, 'The 28th Division.' 'Who is 
your commanding general?' 'I do not know, sir.' 'Gen- 
eral Traub, remember that. How many Americans over 
here?' 'Between five and eight million, I think, sir.' 'How 
many reserves are behind this drive?' 'Three milhon, sir.' 
He called me a damned liar, and said, 'There are not that 
many here. How were you captured?' 'We were leading 
our division, but did not know it, sir.' He asked me a few 
more questions. We expected to be shot after the question- 
ing, for on the way back an officer told one of the guards to 
kill us, but the guard would not. I had made up my mind 
to fight like hell if it looked like they meant business." 



As the relievino; units of the 1st Division took their places 
in line, the 35th withdrew along the road running south of 

Marching })ack through the village of Nieuvilly and covei- 
ing a distance of about twelve kilometers, the regiment 
bivouacked that night on an open field near Auzeville. That 
march l^ack from the lines the evening of October 2nd, pre- 
sented a weird and phantom-like spectacle. After six days 
and nights of severe strain, seeing death and destruction in 
all forms and as only a battle can impart, the remnants of 
our little army, tired to the very soul, hungry, and bearing a 
haggai'd, worn look on every face, we betook ourselves back 
along that road hardly knowing or I'ealizing whither we were 
going. As we plodded along behind the slowgoing horse- 
exhausted wagon trains, hardly a word was spoken. All 
that was wanted or craved was rest and something warm to 
eat or drink. Man and animal alike gave symptoms of 
physical ailment. Here a tired doughboy, not able to keep 
up, would fall out by the wayside to rest, further along a 
horse was seen to falter and sink down. The harness was 
quickly unloosed, and if the animal was willing to follow in 
the rear he was taken along ; if not, he was left behind to 
wander at his leisure. No unjust demands were made at 
this stage. Neither man nor animal was to suffer for lack 
of judgment ; both had served their part, and served it well 
against some of the greatest odds ever faced by man or beast. 


168 JinNiniscenres of the 137th U. S. I njantry 

As we reached our resting place for the night, the men 
fell out and prepared to pitch pup tents. However, as some 
had left their equipment behind in the first wood where we 
had stopped before going up into the Argonne, they were 
compelled to wait until the detail could bring up their 
equipment. In the darkness many packs were misplaced, 
and as a last resort we grabbed whatever one we could lay 
our hands on. Many of the packs would never more be 
called for, and, distributing the odd ones here and there, we 
were soon settled for the night. That night camp-fires were 
]x^rmitted, and around these the men gathered to obtain a 
little warmth. It seemed to make no difference about fires 
this night, as we did not fear enemy observers. They were 
kept busily occupied elsewhere, no doubt. The night was 
unusually cold, and a fire was most welcome. That night as 
we encamped there on that little open field, many familiar 
faces were missing from our midst. We were a somewhat 
shattered remnant of a once proud and well organized regi- 
ment. This was one night when "bunkies" whose pals did 
not return must look elsewhere or sleep alone. 

As we lay thei-e on the ground, munerous remarks could 
be heard, such as, "Well, Joe was killed the second day of 
the di'ive." ''Jack was picked off right at my side." 
"I saw Bill lying out there near Baulny, and going over to 
where he lay he told me I would have to bunk alone after 
this, as his wound was pretty bad and it hurt considerably. 
He told me to take care of his things and bring them back 
to the States whenever the regiment went home. He died 
while I was standing there and before I realized it." Nu- 
merous conversations were to be heard, and some wei-(» quite 
touching. One incident, which actually happened, was wit- 
nessed ]:)y the author of these lines. During the third day 

77/r h'rh'rf 161) 

of th(^ drive, suffering from an infected hand, I walkcHl back 
to the field hospital where I had my hand operated on. After 
this was done, I stood awhile and watched the anil)ulances 
coming in fiom the hnes Ixniring their precious cargoes of 
wounded. Some were pitifully wounded and beyond i-ecog- 
nition. I passed in and out among some of the tents where 
lay the wounded waiting to be dress(Hl and evacuated back 
to the base hospital. There were some pitiful sights, and it 
could not but impress one most deeply. Although woimded 
badly, th(\y hardly gave vent to their feelings. The spirit 
was wonderful. Passing one stretcher, I heard a weird 
sound, and going up to where a huddled form lay, I asked 
if I could be of any service, thinking pc^rhaps a glass of water 
or such was wanted. This wounded (loughl)oy was wiapped 
in bandages almost the entire length of his body, and he ap- 
peared terribly cut ui). As I came close and saw his face, I 
realized he was dying. He was endeavoring to spc^ak, but 
could not. Bending closer so as to catch what he was try- 
ing to say, I made out the one most noble word, most sacred 
of names, ''Mother." This wounded son of some faraway 
mother passed away while I stood there by his side. His 
last thought here on earth had been of her, she who had ever 
held him close to a motherly bosom. It was in truth, the 
hand that rocked his cradle, the one who had so often brushed 
away his little child sorrows and had given him strength and 
courage, and taught him the ideal of growing manhood. To 
her his last thoughts and prayers were consecrated. God 
only knows how often that word "mother" was repeated 
over there on the battlefields of France. It is but for Him 
alone to know and to have lunird their last prayers, conse- 
crated to the holiest and most sacred of mortals, ''mother." 
And in conclusion may (heir lust thoughts or i)rayers find 

170 Retnini^ccnces of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

fulfillment, whether it was said by friend or enemy, for 
whatever our personal feelings or sentiments may be, the 
world at large acknowledges the sacredness of the term — 

After a night's rest here on the field we were again on our 
way the following day, stopping that afternoon in a wood 
called St. Rouin. We remained here until October 5th, and 
then marched back to the village of Rembercourt. Major 
(3 'Connor who had been in command of the regiment since 
Colonel Hamilton was evacuated to a hospital, now turned 
the command over to Lieutenant Colonel E. C. Sammons, 
who had been Division Inspector. He remained in command 
until October 12th. At Rembercourt, billets were obtained 
for the men and we made ourselves as comfortable as possi- 
ble. The second night here the Regimental Band, whose 
instruments had been stored in Nancy for some weeks while 
all these late movements had been in operation, now re- 
ceived their instruments, and that evening a concert was 
given for the boys out on the village street. It was the 
first time they had heard their band for several weeks, in 
fact, not since we were down in Alsace. Right then and 
there we discovered what a great tonic music is to the human 
soul. After that concert, the boys themselves said, they 
felt like living humans once more, and this concert was the 
best thing they had heard for ages. It had a wonderful 
stimulating effect. These war-worn veterans soon forgot all 
troubles and worry, forgot war and its horrors, felt only the 
exuberating spirit of life. While here in Rembercourt we 
witnessed a spectacular and thrilling sight. A squadron of 
250 aeroplanes loaded with bombs passed overhead on their 
way to the Front . They appeared like a large flock of huge 
]:)irds slowly wending their way toward some unknown desti- 

The Relief 171 

nation. The drone of their motors could be heard for miles. 
About an hour later they commenced coming back, this time 
flying easy and with no apparent effort. They had been 
over on '^ Fritz's" side dropping ''propaganda" of effective 
sort and were now returning to their homes. 

The boys were now resting up and enjoying th(^ comforts 
of good billets, the first they had been in for many weeks. 
One evening, while seated down in the '' Y" hut many of us 
were accorded a real thrill. During the intermission of a 
picture show, the "Y" director, mounting a chair com- 
manded silence, and in a somewhat shaky and excited voice, 
read a report just received, stating that "Germany had con- 
sented to accept Wilson's peace proposals and desired an 
armistice." The boys arose to the man and in one great 
cheer earsplitting in intensity, let their feelings be known 
far and wide. Leaving the hut and thus breaking up the 
show, everybody made for the open where their efforts 
would be less subdued. That evening the only subject 
throughout the length and breadth of those billets was the 
coming peace. Plans for our return home were soon in the 
making, and we had everything laid out in well regulated 
order. Little did we realize the long wait before us. Mon- 
day, October 7th, all hearts were made happy by an act on 
Uncle Samuel's part. We received our payday receipts with 
open hands. True, about the only thing we could buy in 
this little old village was the customary "vin rouge," or if 
we possessed a higher temperament, champagne served the 
purpose. I recall how some of us spent our spare francs for 
some flour, and obtaining some baking powder from one of 
our kitchens, proceeded to construct a bridge of "hot cakes," 
running from the improvised griddle to our palate. We 
stood there before that little fireplace almost half a day eat- 
ing and l)aking. It was worth the fi-ancs. 

172 llcntinisanrcs of (he l,)7ih V . S. I njaiilnj 

Leaving Rembercourt October 11th, the regiment niarchetl 
on to a camp in a wood between Bennoit Vaiix and Recourt. 
It rained continually, and the wood was a quagmire. While 
here, the regiment received a lai'ge number of replacements. 
These men hailed from Camp Gordon. They were natives 
of the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and 
Mississippi. The following night march was resumed 
through a heavy rain. We arrived at Rupt en Woevre about 
midnight, where we i-emained imtil the morrow. All this 
time we had little idea where we were going ; things were 
kept in a silent way. However, this night we connnenced 
hearing the distant detonations of guns aTid saw occasional 
flashes off to the east and north, and it was then we realized 
we were on our way back to some front. After coming out 
of tli(? Argonne, we had expected a long i-est, l)ut this was 
not (o !)('. However, we adjusted ourselves accordingly, 
and soon the old fighting spirit was regained. We left Ruj^t 
the night of the 13th, and after several hours' maix'hing ar- 
rived up to the tren(;hes of the Sonmie Dieue sector and 
took over the subsector Bouie. Here all front line rations 
were conducted from P. G. ''Brest and Bordeaux." The 
towns of Handimont, Villers, Mont-sous-Les Cotes, Man- 
heulles and Frenna were within the American lines. 

While coming up the road to enter the trenches, we passed 
a regiment of French infantry. The French for some reason 
or other appeared unusually happy and frivolous ; they came 
marching b^^ our column going in the opposite direction, sing- 
ing and whistling as though the trenches were miles away. 
We wondered why all this noise so near the lines. Every now 
and then a doughboy, anxious to find out the cause for all 
this, would ask a passing Frenchman, "La Guerre fini toute 
suite?" Back would come the French barrage, "Oh oui, oui. 

The HcUcf 173 

Boche fini nuiiiiteiiaiit, la Guoitc fini, beaucoup zig-zag pour 
nous" (or, ''Yes, the Boche is through now, the war over); 
great celebrations and much wine for us, " figuratively speak- 
ing. They were happ}^ and they didn't mind telling the 
world, not even the Germans across the way. After four 
years of hell and destruction, they still had the spirit of 
frivolity. T>'pical Fiench. 



As the regiment took over the trenches here in the Soninie 
Dieue sector, the boys, who of late had passed through the 
vicissitudes of history's biggest battle, felt that anything they 
might now encounter would seem rather insignificant in com- 
parison. They were battle-scarred veterans, and had no 
doubts or anxieties as to their ability to meet and cope with 
the foe. 

The relief made, things soon became adjusted, and thus 
our trench life once more began. However, we were not to 
get off without numerous experiences with the enemy. Oc- 
casional night patrols and raiding parties with a few well 
planned bombardments constituted the program for both 
sides. Company ''H" relieved Company "D" on the night 
of October 19th-20th. Three platoons of the company, 
under command of Lieutenant F. T. McQuain, occupied the 
town of Manheulles. At 4 : 25 on the morning of October 
23rd the Germans attempted a raid on the positions. Ap- 
proximately 150 picked men from the Boche lines attacked 
G. C. 2 on the north edge of the town. A forty-minute 
barrage of heavy artillery preceded the attack, which fol- 
lowed at 5 A. M. The Germans came across in a I'ush, cut- 
ting through two strands of barbed wire and reaching the 
last protecting strand, when signals were sent up from our 
lines calling for artillery support ; but the fog and mist were 
so dense thai it ])i'ev(Mil('(l jhe signals from being observed by 
oiii' artill(Mv. Tlie bovs, making th(> best of a tr\'ing situa- 

In the Trenchea Near Verdun 175 

tioii, buckled to it and tendered tlie Germans such a warm 
reception with rifles and rifle-grenades that the Germans did 
''about face" and beat a hasty and confused retreat. They 
sustained several casualties, but succeeded in getting their 
dead and wounded off the field. Sergeant William Weaver, 
of Company "H," was killed, and was buried shortly after- 

Company "H" was again recipient to some more excite- 
ment, for on October 24th, at 5 a. m., a German patrol was 
out scouting for trouble. Their course brought them north- 
west toward Company ''H" at G. C. 2. The weather being 
foggy, the Germans had difficulty in observing what was 
l^efore them. As was later learned, they were new troops 
and unacquainted with the lines. They approached to 
within tw^enty-five feet of the American combat group be- 
fore they seemed to realize that they were at the American 
lines. The Americans, discovering their approach, opened 
fire with a Chauchat rifle, killing one of their number and 
wounding several. In making a hasty retreat, the Germans 
left their dead behind. His body was at once brought in, 
and his identification rc^vealed that we were opposed by new 
troops, and that (he Germans had effected a i-elief the night 

For some unknown reason or other. Company "H" had 
been absorbing most of the enemy's attention. However, 
other of our units were to be heard from, ('ompany "F" 
relieved Company "H" on the night of October 25th-26th. 
A liaison patrol, consisting of a non-connnissioned oflficer 
and three privates made regular rounds between Manhaulles 
and Fresne en Wo(»vr(\ Private Arthur R. Morgan, had 
volunteered to lead this ''F" Company patrol. This patrol 
made, ti'ips eacli night, k:aving P. C. at 9 p. m. and returnhig 

176 lietnini.scoice^ of Ihc I37i}i IL S. Infantry 

again at 11 o'clock. Leaving P. C. again at midnight and 
returning at 2 a. m. On the night of the 26th-27th the pa- 
trol left the G. C'. at 9 p. m. and returned again without 
anything happening. On the twelve o'clock trip, as they 
left the G. C. one of the men started coughing. Fearing de- 
tection, he was sent back. The non-com. and the two pri- 
vates continued on the patrol. They had been on their way 
about twenty minutes when one of the men, glancing over 
his shovdder, saw in the darkness the dim outline of a group 
of men moving east from around Manhaulles. The man 
making the discover}' called the attention of the patrol 
leader to what he had seen. The patrol leader, knowing that 
our scout platoon had a scout patrol at work, and thinking 
that it was them they saw, called out, ''Are you Amei'icans?" 
There was no reply, and the (]U(\stion was repeated. The 
i-eply this time was a shot fircMl straight at the "F'' patrol. 
Quick as a flash, th(^ three men s(,*attered and dropped to 
th(^ ground and began pouring lead into the German patrol. 
The ]V)che, numbering fifteen or twenty in mnnber, ran 
together (more skull work), and assembling, thus fired back, 
also using "potato masheis." The Americans had scattered 
out about fifty feet apart, and proved poor targets in the 
darkness. On the other hand, the Germans grouped to- 
gether made a fine target for the Americans, who took ad- 
vantage of the fact. Soon the Boches commenced caUing 
"Kamerade," but our boys fearing a ruse, continued to fire 
and shift their positions. The Germans finally retreated, 
leaving the Americans to their course. 

Upon the d(^]iarture of the enemy, the patrol leader called 
his conuades together for hasty consultation out there in 
" No-Man 's-Land." It was then discovered that one man 
was missing. Thinking that the lost man had been killed 

/// flic Trenches Near Vcnhni 177 

or gone hack lo \\\v (i. ('., (he |);i(r()l lender led llic way (o a 
mixed post hclwccn (lie i^otli Divisic^n and llic one on our 
i-ight. The regiment on tlie right was being i-eheved, and 
wliat remained of the pati'ol went out with oui' men to the 
second line and i-elui-ned to Manlundles ])y way of Mont 
sous Les ('Otes, arriving there 5:50 a. m. Private Weeks, 
the missing man, had been wounded, and laid out in No- 
Man 's-Land all night and the following day. Just before 
the patrol sent out from Company 'T" that night had gone 
out. Weeks crawled in to G. C. He said he had seen Ger- 
mans returning early next morning after the night skirmish 
and cany away two dead or wounded Gei'mans aljout forty 
yards from where he lay concc^aled. Tlie same liaison i)atrol 
three nights later, found a dead German at this point and 
brought him in. It was discovei-ed that seven or eight 
Germans had been killed or wounded in this aforementioned 
night encounter. 

The night of October 29th-30th (Company "B," which had 
just been relieved in Haudimont by Company "D," and had 
withdrawn to a jiosition near P. C. Bordeaux in reserve, was 
heavily ])om])arded with mustai-d gas from the enemy lines. 
Two thousand five hundred shells were thi'own into and 
around the company's position, and due to the effects of 
the gas eighty men were sent to the hospital. None of the 
casualties were serious, and the patients soon returned to the 
organization. While here in this sector. Colonel CuUison, 
who had been gassed while serving with the First Division 
in the Argonne, but had hoped to recover without dropping 
his military duties, finally had to give in to the effects of the 
poisoning, and was evacuated to a hospital. He was suc- 
ceeded in command by Lieutenant-Colonel M. H. Shute, a 
former West Point man. A short time latei- the command was 

17S RcfNiniyccnccs of the 137th U. S. hifdntri/ 

taken over by Colonel im Reeves. Colonel Reeves was later 
assigned to duty as head of the A. E. F. university at Beaune. 

The weather was now commencing to settle down into a 
I'eal disagreeable condition. It rained continually, and the 
trenches were knee deep in mud and water. Rubber hip 
boots were issued the men, which helped matters consider- 
ably. During this time we would occasionally receive copies 
of the daily papers such as the foreign edition of the New 
York Herald, and we were noting that gossip pointed to 
the fact that peace was near. The boys commenced to 
feel that the day was not so far away when the sound of the 
guns would be a thing of the past. Our daily conversation 
was reference to peace and what it would mean. It did seem 
as though the woi'ld was ]:)rightening uj) just a l)it. We were 
tired of the life, we had passed through so much ; we craved 
that othei" world we had once known and fi-om whence we 
had come. 

The regiment was relieved in the trenches here on the night 
of November 4th by the 81st Division, better known as the 
^'Wildcat Division." The great majority of the men in the 
relieving division were new at the game of war, having seen 
very little training and no direct participation in any battle. 
It was their first trip to the trenches. As the relief was 
being effected, some amusing incidents took place. Our 
boys, knowing their newly arrived comrades were '^rookies" 
at the game, took every possible advantage of the fact. 
(You can't beat a doughboy.) One of our men, noticing the 
relief coming up, approached and enquired, ''What organiza- 
tion is this?" The reply, ''The 81st Division; they call us 
the Wildcats. What do they call you? " The husky Kansan 
replied, "They didn't have to call us; we volunteei-ed." 
The joke was appreciated by both parties. 



/// ////; Trenches Near Verdun 179 

Sonic of these iicwcouuMSWcn^ recipients of various pranks 
invented by some of our young Kansas instigators, and inno- 
cents of the party of the second part no doubt suffered a few 
jolts of reaHzation a few days later. Many of these so-called 
'^ Wildcats," entering the trenches for the initial time, were 
accosted by our men, who plied their wares, and considerable 
French money changed hands. Trench property, permanent 
trench fixtures, such as flares, rubber boots and gas alarms 
were readily sold. A shrewd Kansan having an outpost 
wh(M'e he awaited relief, gathered up an armful of flares and 
meeting a group of the relieving troop coming into line, he 
said, ''Boys, perhaps you fellows would like to buy these 
things. They come in handy at times, and if th<^ ' Dutch ' 
start to come across you couldn't get artillery support if you 
did not have these flares to signal with. We won't be need- 
ing any flares for awhile, as we are leaving the trenches, so if 
you want to buy them, I'll sell them dirt cheap." A deal 
was transacted whereby the Wildcats ])ecame the new owners 
of a raft of flares which we had found upon our entry into 
the same trenches. Large numbers of rublxn- ]K)ots were 
also sold at bargain- counter prices, and some pockets now 
jingled quite freely. The doughboy must needs have his 
fun, and all this ''scandal" gave us subject matter for days 
to come. 



The relief movement executed, the regiment withdrew and 
billeted that night in the towns of Deux Niuds, Lerocourt, 
Courcelles sur Oise and Rignacourt. Everybody was glad 
to be out of the trenches once more. While here, we received 
official communication that Austria and Turkey had signed 
the armistice. These were moments of real joy, and now we 
were wondering what Germany would do. In accordance 
with doughboy sentiments, numerous *M)ets" were made and 
the outcome awaited with interest. The French, when asked 
if the war was over would always reply, ''Ah oui, oui, Aus- 
triche fini, Turquire fini, les Bodies fini toute suite." 

On the morning of November 9th the regiment left these 
towns and marched back through Piufitter. That night a 
halt was made at Camp Higre near Chaumont sur Aire. 
These night halts made, only one subject was to be heard, 
and that was ''the coming peace"; and it was here that 
home, mother, wife and sweetheart, far back there across the 
waters, came in for a good share of thought and reference. 
Reaching Sampigny next day, November 10th, the regiment 
halted, expecting to l)e on the way by the morrow. We had 
now learned that our regiment with the balance of the Divi- 
sion was on its way to open up a drive on "Metz," and we 
were again to serve as one of the "kickoff" divisions, and 
then — making a long story short — the war was over. At first 
the l)oys could not quite realize it, although it had been ex- 
pected for some little time. Well, it did not seem quite 

L(i (1 nor re Fini ISl 

possible allcj- ull. A iiicssciij;cr had iirrivcd with tlic first 
news, Jiiid for a loiij»- time \\v did not place very much faith 
in the rumor, as we had heard so much ''L. D." (meaning 
Latin Dictum). It was not until the following day that 
realization of transpii-ing events hit home, and it was then 
celebrations were' indulged in and— well, you know me, Al. 

It was true after all. The strain, toil and hardship of 
war was over. No more would we l)e bothered by heavy 
steel helmets and cumbersome gas masks. True they had 
served their purpose and served well, but now they were out 
of a jol), as their services were no longer needed. 

We did not leave Sampigny as had been planned a few 
hours before. Things had now changed in rapid order, and 
we were looking out upon a new world. Things appeiired 
different to us, and we felt likewise. Could it be otherwise? 
Imagine, after months spent in preparation in some camp 
and then across the sea to the inferno "Over There," and 
there our lives had l)een one thing and then another, passing 
through experiences which each day produced anew. We 
had borne all in patience, and now a new daylight was breaking 
into dawn over our hoi-izon and the opening of a new peace 
was upon the woi'ld. 



Al Ihe eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh 
month, hostilities came to an end from Switzerland to the 
sea. Early that morning from the wireless station on the 
Eiffel Tower in Paris, there had gone forth through the air 
to the wondering, half-incredulous line that the Americans 
held from near Sedan to the Moselle, the order from Marshal 
Foch to cease fii-(^ on the stroke of eleven. 

182 Rcvirnisrnircs of the 137lh U. S. fnjanlr]/ 

On Uic sti'()k(' of ('l(>v(Mi (he caiiuoii stopped, (he ritlos 
dropped from the .shoulders, the machine guns grew still. 
There followed then a strange, unbelievable silence, as though 
the world had died. It lasted but a moment, lasted for the 
space that the breath is held. Then came such an uproar 
of relief and jul^ilance, such a tooting of horns, shrieking of 
whistles, such an overture from the bands and trains and 
church bells, such a shouting of voices as the earth is not 
likely to hear again in our day and generation. When night 
fell on the l)attlefie]d, the clamor of the celebration waxed 
rathei- than waned. Darkness? There was none. Rockets 
and a ceaseless fountain of star-shells made the lines a streak 
of glorious brillance across the face of startled France, while, 
by the light of flares, the Front and all its dancing, boasting, 
singing peoples was as clearly visible as though the sun sat 
high in the heavens. 

The man fioni Mars coming to earth on the morning of 
November 11th, 1918, would have been hard put to say which 
army had won, for, if anything, the greater celebration, the 
more stai'tling outburst, came not from the American but 
from the German side. At least he could have said — that 
man from Mars — to which side the suspension of hostilities 
had come as the greater relief. The news began to spread 
across the Front shortly after the sun rose. There was more 
or less of an effort to send it forward only through military 
channels, to have the corps report it calmly by wire to the 
divisions, the divisions to the brigades, the brigades to the 
I'egiments, the regiments to the battalions, and so down the 
various courses, as though it were an ordinary order and 
nothing to become excited over. There was the effort, but 
it did not work veiy well. The word was sped on the kind 
of wireless that man knew many centuries before Marconi 

Ld (iiicrrc Fitii |^3 

came on uarlli. 1( .sprciul like a current of electricity alonjr 
the shivery mess Hnes, hopping up and down and sniffling 
and scuffling as they waitcnl foi- the morning coffee. It 
spread along th(^ chains of singing road menders, along the 
creeping colunms of camions. Driver called to driver and 
i-unners tossed the word over theij- shoulders as they hur- 
ried by. 

''The guerre will be fini at 11 o'clock. Fini La Guerre." 
You could heai- it called out again and again. 

''What time?" 

"Eleven o'clock." 

"Where do you get that bunc?" 

"Well, the (^aptain said so." 

"Hell, who is he? I'll wait until Foch comes and tells me 

Such was some of the doughboy's lingo heai-d. That night 
the flares inflamed the sky ; the rockets streaked the night ; 
bands burst into long-suppressed music, and the headlights 
of moving vehicles twinkled all along the roads and byways. 
It did not last long, this little unbidd(Mi flurry, and there was 
much scolding ; Ixit, as a matter of fact, nothing much more 
demoralizing to the enemy could well have been staged than 
this spectacle of the First American Army celebrating some- 
thing he had not heard. All along the seventy-seven miles 
held by the Americans the firing continued literally until the 
eleventh hour. At one minute to eleven, when a million or 
more eyes were glued to the slow-creeping minute hands of a 
million or more watches, the roar of the guns was a thing to 
make the old earth tremble. We often wondered if the roai- 
at that particular time could be hvanl over here in the States. 
At one point— it was where the Yankee Division, visiting at 
the time with a French corps, was having a brisk morning 

184 Hefnuii.'<c(')ices of the 137th ('. S. Infantrij 

hiiUk' (o (he ctisl of the Meuse — ii inaii statiuiiecl at one bat- 
tery stood with handkerchief in his iiphftetl hand, his eyes 
fixed on his watch. It was one minute before eleven. To the 
lanyards of the four big guns ropes wei-e tied, each rope 
manned by 200 soldiers, cooks, stragglers, messengers, gun- 
ners, everybody. At eleven, the handkerchief fell, the men 
pulled, the guns cursed out the last shot of the battery. And 
so it went at a hundred, a thousand, places along the front. 

At one place along the line, just as the hour had struck, a 
quite startling thing occurred. The skyline of the crest 
across the way grew suddenly populous with dancing soldiers, 
and down the slope all the way to the barbed wire, straight 
for the Americans came the German troops. They came 
with outstretched hands, ear to ear grins, and souvenirs to 
swap for cigarettes, so w^ell did they know the little weakness 
of their foe. They came to tell how pleased they were that 
the fight had stopped ; how glad they were the Kaiser had 
departed for parts unknown ; how fine it was to know they 
would have a republic at last in Germany. ''No," said one 
stubborn little Prussian, ''it's a kingdom we want." Whereat 
his companions mobbed him and howled him down. 

When the great hoin- came, across the trenches from our 
side swarmed a small army of civilians bearing food and 
clothing to their kith and kin on the other side. This hap- 
pened down in Alsace. From the highest steeple in Thann, 
the tricolor fluttered gaily, and within the church there knelt 
in thanksgiving all the old folks from miles around. With 
them, in among them, poilus and Yankee soldiers knelt, and 
the crowd so choked the aisles and steps that the priest could 
not move forward. 

Up to the front near Montfaucon, a truck trundled that 
morning. Over the tailboard, at the endless mud of the 

La (riwrrc Fini 185 

Argonnc aiul iVrtlciines, there gazed a boy who had been drafted 
in the heart of America some six months l^efore, and who 
with stopoffs for tedious training on the way, had slowly 
journeyed from his home to the Ardennes. It had taken 
him six months, but it had brought him at last to his des- 
tination—the destination of his day-dreams and his night- 
mares. He had reached the Front. As he rode along, he 
noticed a certain excitement tingling everywhere ; but per- 
haps that was just the mood of the Front. When finally the 
truck stopped and he jumped out, the news was awaiting him. 
''It is 11 o'clock and the war is over." 
''Hell," he said, "I just got here." 

Then he laughed a short little laugh that was made half 
in relief and half in disappointment. 

Up in a high observation post, an American observer was 
trying to penetrate the mist with his German field glasses. 
The young officer at his elbow asked him to look due west. 
What did he see? Well, not much — the road to the forest 
full of traffic ; no shell fire ; a crippled plane in the field below. 
"Great Scott, what good are those glasses? Why, with- 
out them I can see a little home out in Kansas. There's a 
nursery on the second floor, and the sun shining in through 
the window just touches a cradle there. Inside that cradle, 
man, is my daughter. I have never seen her before. She 
was born since I sailed for France." 

Along th(> way every wliere little knots of Yanks were at 
work singing and laughing, and often the song could be heard, 

" It's homcj hoys, its home we ought to be, 
Home, hoys, home, to the land of liberty." 

So came to an end the 1 1th of November, 1918-— the o85th 
day since Amei'ica entennl the wai'. 



As soon as word was officiall}^ received that hostilities had 
ceased, the regiment settled down in Sampigny and environs 
for a stay of undetermined duration. 

Sampigny had been a town of about 1500 inhabitants 
before the war. It had suffered all the vicissitudes of war 
and was well battered and bent. Hardly a building remained 
whole. Seven kilometers away stands the ill-fated city of 
St. Mihiel, with the fortified hill known as Fort St. Ramain. 
This fort was situated on the extreme southern point of the 
St. Mihiel salient, held almost four yeavs by the Germans. 
Sampigny had been within easy range of the guns on this 
hill, and therefore throughout the war had been under enemy 
fire. The town nestles in the Meuse Valle}', a wide valley 
flanked by a precipitate ridge on either side, with the Meuse 
River winding its way thi'ough the dell on its way to the 
Rhine. Many of the residejices and other buildings of the 
town were badly damaged, and the railwa^y depot and the 
church were completely wrecked. Her(\, situated on a high 
hill west of and overlooking the town and a great portion of 
the Meuse Valley, stood the remains of the once magnificent 
summer home of M. Poincare, President of the Republic of 
France. This onc(* l)eautiful chateau had been built in 1908 
and bore the outline of figin-e which showed that it had pos- 
sessed great architectural beauty. It appeared as though 
the Germans had taken unusual delight in s'helling this cha- 
teau, for shells had perforntod house and grounds in main- 

Battle of Sanipiyni/ 187 

As Sampigny could not accommodate the entire regiment, 
units were scattered throughout the nearby villages. Regi- 
mental Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Supply and 
Machine Gun Companies were billeted in Sampign}^, as was 
the entire First Battalion. The Second Battalion was bil- 
leted at Courcelles aux Bois, and the Third Battalion at 
Menil aux Bois. Our next move was to make things as 
comfortable as possible. There were numerous abandoned 
dugouts in and around Sampigny where some old furniture 
such as chairs, benches, tables and stoves were obtained. 
The villages were policed up and debris cleaned out ; houses 
wliich remained standing but lacked adequate repairs were 
fixed up, bunks installed, and soon conditions became more 
to the liking. 

We now entered upon what was to prove a long, cold, dark 
winter of training. Doniphan days over again. Although 
the armistice had been signed and hostilities had ceased, it 
must be remembered that we were still in a state of war, and 
the enemy was engaged, but in a somewhat different manner. 
All units upon foreign soil must ever remain in a state of 
preparedness. Efficiency and co-operation were still the 
watchwords. All during the cold, w<'t winter months the 
boys underwent daily drill out on the rain-soaked fields and 
roads. Close order drills, field maneuvers, tactical problems, 
simulated battles, rifle practice, and parades and inspec- 
tions, constituted the curriculum. We were now resigned to 
the game of watchful waiting, and this proved far more un- 
enduring than the game of war, so it seemed. It was a most 
disagreeable existence, and all in all, we hardly saw six days 
of sunshine dining :ill llie winter, l^ue (o the lack of fuel, 
few ]>illets were heated, and the continued moisture caused 
many to go without a stitcli of dry clotliing for days at a 

188 Houiniisccnces of the l37Lh U . N. Injanlnj 

time. Had it not been for the many months of hard train- 
ing and campaigning, many would no doubt have succumbed. 
It tested the best of them. As time went on, little improve- 
ments were made here and there. Colonel Reeves, who was 
now in charge of the regiment, did everything possible to 
improve conditions. Colonel Reeves from the first stood in 
high favor with all the men. He was a man of unusual in- 
tegrity and ability, farsighted, just and considerate — just 
the sort one would like to go up and take by the hand and 
tell him what a pleasure it is to make his acquaintance. 
Now, Mr. Critic, don't you know that the average doughboy 
would sooner claim a man of that character as their leader 
than one who ''imposes" on the uniform he wears — one who 
always sustains a cold and aloof bearing toward his men? 
This war and what we have seen of it, which by the way is 
not so meager, has proven man}^ things contrary to musings 
of master military sages. During our time we have had oc- 
casion to study characters, from generals down to privates, 
and we found that it was the really human ones who made 
the highest all-around score. We have seen some pitiful 
examples who deserve more sympathy perhaps than censure. 
Thanksgiving was duly observed. A concert by the band, 
speeches by our Chaplain, and the customary thing — a 
''feed." We were now fortunate in claiming Y. M. C. A. 
and Knights of Columbus huts, and these did their bit in a 
commendable manner. Too much work and no play makes 
the "Yank" a dull boy. In order to sj^stematize our exist- 
ence somewhat, and make life more interesting, an elaborate 
program of athletics was ai'i-anged. Where previously the 
])oys had been compelled to drill hve hours each day in the 
rain and mud, that time was now divided up, and the morn- 
ings devoted to drill and the afternoons to athletics. This 

Baltic of Savipigny 189 

proved a fine thing, and it helped the morah' to a degree. 
Later on, every Ameriean unit and division in France de- 
voted much time to such forms of recreation as athletics, 
entertainment troupes, shows of various kinds, and every- 
thing was done to make the life more in keeping. Shows 
were given by the doughboys in various places, and many 
times old barns, and even cow-sheds, wei-e converted into a 
''Modern Metropolitan," and by the aid of slow-burning 
French candles shows were given to audiences of enthusiastic 
onhearers. Later on we were fortunate in having electric 
lights. We found an old generator and dynamo, and the 
usual Yank ingenuity did the rest. This little old town, 
which had lain in darkness for four years, now enjoyed the 
radiating gleams of electric lights ; even street lights were 
hung, and the ''Capital of Kansas" over in France was 

"Everything comes to him who waits." So far the up- 
building of the physical had been the pertinent issue. Now, 
however, master minds within our circle conceived of other 
inspirations. To Colonel Reeves is tendered the credit of 
establishing a seat of learning, where those who so desired 
might utilize their spare evenings in the study of various 
su])jects. A school was organized and the study of English, 
French, spelling and history commenced. This was the first 
school of its kind organized among the men of the Expedi- 
tionary forces. Soon the idea spread to other organizations, 
and it was not long until there were hundreds of these little 
''universities." Again Kansas had taken the lead in a good 
cause, only tb have others follow. About this time, a regi- 
mental paper known as ''The Jdyhawkerinfrance,^' came 
into existence and was published under the supervision of 
Sergeant W. Studor. A small ancient printing shop had 

190 IxctNni/scciiccs of the I37lh U . S. liijaiiinj 

been located in one of the near])y villages, and though the 
type and machinery had lain idle for years, it was soon 
cleaned up and put to work. 


Christmas — our second in the army and away from home 
and our first on foreign soil. It was the one time of the 
year we longed to be home. As we sat before the little old 
open fireplace of a lowly billet Christmas Eve, we could 
picture the scene : The dinner table ; the loved ones as- 
sembled ; the fire of Yule logs ; the slow, brightly burning 
candles ; and a thousand other thoughts came to mind. We 
knew and felt that though oui- lunirts were back there; with 
them, yes, our very all, they in tiu'n were thinking of us far 
over in France. On this day a grand feed was enjoyed, a 
concert by the band, numerous speeches, and ''everything." 
During a program down by the old village church, little 
French children enjoyed their first Santa Claus, and were 
distributed chocolate and candy until their little hearts al- 
most spoke aloud with joy. 


Another inspiring occasion was Kansas Day. This day 
was observed by the entire regiment, January 29th. The 
celebration was arranged by the Y. M. C. A. and held in 
the ''Y" huts in each battalion. Former Lieutenant- 
Governor W. Y. Morgan acted in the capacity of ''toast- 
master," and informal talks were given by Colonel Reeves, 
Major Fred L. Lemmon and Major John H. O'Connor. Then 
a grand "smokei" was in order, and here ye doughboy was 
right at home, and an awful "smoke barrage" was the result. 
It was a "get-together" day for all concerned. 

Battle of Sampigny 191 


February 4th, memorial services for our dead was ol)- 
served. Chaplain Sawkins conducted a service on the drill 
field west of Sampigny, using the solemn Requiem High 
Mass. The altar had been erected under a canopy between 
two trees. The altar was draped in black, and surmounted 
by four large candlesticks and a cross. After church call 
had been sounded and the assemblage drew up. Chaplain 
Sawkins read the solemn Mass for the Dead, while fifteen 
hundred uniformed figures stood in formation before the 
altar. Following the mass. Chaplain Sullins rendered an 
appropriate address. The services closed with the volleys 
from the firing squad and sounding of "Taps." It was a 
very impressive event, and served as a beautiful ti-il)ute to 
our fallen comrades. 


Ever since the signing of the armistice and throughout the 
long winter months, we had heard and inclined an ear to 
numerous and diverse rumors I'egarding leaving this area. 
To one who has never been in the army, little realization of 
what old dame rumor can do can be appreciated. One day, 
rumor had it that our division was to leave for a port of 
embarkation within a few days. Following day, we would 
hear the report that we were to be made a part of the army 
of occupation. Again, we were scheduled to go up into 
llussia, and one rumor in particular, which sounded good 
but listened differently, was that we were to act as a convoy 
when President Wilson returned home from his first visit to 
Europe. At times, such false rumors nearly broke our 
liearts — not literally, but otherwise. All winter lung, we 
kept asking ourselves the one (luestion, "Where and when 

192 Hevunisccuccs of the lS7ih U. S. Injanlri/ 

do we ^'() from 1km(>T' That old story lold al)()u( the two 
Allied chiefs sceincd to ho s|)i-()utin^- fi'uit. It runs thus: 
"(Jonerals Foch and Pershing wviv eating a bij>; dinner in a 
prominent New York restaurant in the year 1921. Durinjj; 
the course of their repast, Marshal Foch turning to Pershinjj; 
asked, 'Say, John, whatever became of that fighting- 35th 
Division that you had over in France?' Thoughtful and 
full of concern for the moment, Pershing slowly looked up 
and exclaimed : 'By George, I went off and forgot them fel- 
lows, and left them over there in France.' " At times, we 
were inclined to believe this would come ti'ue, and were 
commencing to wondcM- if it were true that \\v were* getting 
grey-haii(Ml, wrinkknl faces, stooped figures, long beai-ds and 
old tatter(Hl clothes, and if it was so that the Uiiit<'d States 
was sending a delegation over to France to find record of 
the once long lost 35th. Brutus, those were cruel days. 

Aftei- a divisional parade reviewed by the Commander- 
in-chief, General Pershing, things commenced to brighten 
u]). It haj^pened on Monday, Fel)i-uary 17th, that the units 
of the 35th were called out and formed on a wide level 
stretch of the Meuse Valley near Commercy. Here twenty- 
two thousand men of the division passed in review of the 
Commander-in-Chief and the ''petit" Prince of Wales, who 
was the guest of honor. After the review, General Pershing 
accompanied by His Majesty and the General Staff, made* a 
caj-eful inspection of all ti'oops. While passing in review 
with colors flying, bayonets gleaming, a snappy tread of 
martial feet and with ''eyes left" saluting their commander, 
the boys presented a wonderful appearance. At the con- 
clusion of the ceremony twenty-two thousand voices broke 
forth in ringing cheers for the Connnander-in-Chief of the 
Expeditionary Forces. In making the customary address 

BaHle of S(nn/)i(i>n/ 193 

lo I lie officcM's r(>ll()\viii«;- llic rcxicw. (Jciu'ial I^'l•shill,l2; rc- 
juarkcd tli;i( 1 lie division would soon \)c on its way home, and 
wished the officers and men of the division Godspeed on 
their homeward journey. 


At last oi'dei's came down to prepare^ to move, and prepa- 
i-ations were speedily in the making;. The Y. M. C. A. and 
the K. of C. united in arrang;in^- a farewell to Sampigny. 
The celebration was held in the '' Y" hut. Songs were sung, 
speeches made, eats indulged in, and a big-hearted time was 
enjoyed. The following day orders were received stating 
that the division would not move until the 21st or later. 
Oh ye Gods of Fate, those were cruel words. There was a. 
great gnashing of teeth, and we donned sackcloth and ashes, 
and had we been at all feminine we would have done the 
customary thing — sat down and had a "good cry." Have 
you ever heard that expression used? I don't mean in 
Fiance, for thei-e it would have been, "Fini? Allay, allay 
toute suite," and a hasty exit. True the joke was on us, 
l)ut ther(^ was oiu^ consolation — we had now said farewell, 
and wei-e through with that formality. Again false prophets 
i() 'c up among us. 

Wo luid M comratle calknl Shelii, 

\\ ho prophesied things with a clear eye, 

But one night he got drunk. 

Forgot all his bunc, 
And now has no more use for French "cyanide." 

To those who were membei's of the i-egiment, no introduc- 
tion is necessary. Sergeant Shehi, a Christian Scientist at 
heait, but a di'ummei- by profession, occupied the distin- 
guisluMl chair of regimental "diplomat, lawyer, preacher, 

194 Reniim'scences of the ISTth U. S. lufaniry 

philanthropist, scientist, navigatxjr, l)anker, ( log-rob) )er, and 
caricaturist of Hfe's rcaUties." He had the unusual power 
of causing one to see blue while looking at white. Last 
heard from, he was doing time down in Augusta, Kansas. 
One theory propounded regarding our departure was that 
our engineers, who had preceded us and were down in 
Brest, were, due to the shortage of ships, building some, and 
we would not be able to sail until these ships had been com- 


While awaiting moving orders and while sitting around 
our ancient little fireplace, a story might not be amiss. 

When the regiment first arrived in Sampigny, and as the 
cold weather was setting in, fuel was scarce, and for a time 
the boys would make trips down to the old abandoned 
trenches and dugouts near by and obtain wood. While 
passing the Poincare chateau one day, the detail sent out 
after wood saw a couple of dead trees lying near. Notify- 
ing the Sergeant-Major, who pronounced the trees dead, and 
taking his word for the fact, the two dead trees were cut up 
and carried down to the billets. While this wood detail was 
at work cutting up these two trees, two French gendarmes 
who were passing saw the boys at work there, and forthwith 
reported the ''slaughter" of two trees to the French forest 
warden at St. Mihiel. An officer of the guard arrived 
shortly and made an estimate in accordance with the Amer- 
ican town Mayor's wishes and reported the cost of the two 
trees to amount to 56 francs, or nearly ten dollars. This was 
paid and the matter dropped. For some reason or other, 
the report of this deed reached Division Headquarters, and 
the General, in oi'der to sliow that th(^ AnuM-icans nuvaut no 

Battle of SdHipiyny 195 

offense against llu^ Pi-esideiil of I'Vuikh^ \\)v cultiiijz; sonw of 
his dead trees, suspended (lie oflicers in cluu'^-e of (his wood 
detail who had trespassed. It was not lon^' aftcM- this that 
the President of France got wind of the transaction an(l 
what was done. He became very indignant that such a 
trifling thing should have been noticed, and, learning that (he 
American officer had paid oO francs for the trees, President 
Poincare immediately sent 56 francs and a courteous letter 
stating his feelings. Thus you have the story of the ''two 
dead trees." May theii* ashes rest in peace, for ashes they 
now are without question. 



AT LAST! the time has come ; we are to commence our 
long awaited homeward jom-ney. On March 7, 1918, en- 
training of the regiment for the Le Mans area began. After 
a thorough cleaning up of the town, ridding all debris and 
rubbish, for we wanted to turn it over to the French in as 
good condition as possible, packs were slung and baggage 
arranged. Headquarters, Supply and Machine Gun Com- 
panies, and the Second and Third Battalions, entrained at 
Sampigny while the First Battalion entrained at Lerouville 
a town six kilometers away. The Y. M. C. A. and the K. of 
C. had arranged a little canteen service down by the depot, 
where hot chocolate and cookies were served free. Loading 
into the customary box cars, and with everything set, a last 
farewell look out over Sampigny, our late habitat, the trip 
})egan. The journey which was scheduled to tak(^ fifty-two 
hours, required seventy-two hours. The trip, though bearing 
a few of the usual discomforts, was a pleasant one, for, re- 
gardless of contending hardships, everybody was in good 
spirits. We were homeward hound, and truly that was a 
wonderful sound. The regiment arrived in the Le Mans area 
Monday, March 10th, and went into billet in the Monfort 
divisional billeting area. 

Regimental Headquarters was established at Chateau de 
Coutuce ; Headquarters and Supply, in St. Michel ; Ma- 
chine Gun Company, in Les Loges ; First Battalion Head- 
quarters, and Companies ^'A" and ''B," at Bouloure ; ''C" 
and "D," at Coudrecieux ; Second Battalion Headquarters, 


HomeuHird Bound 107 

mid C()in])ani(\s "p]," "F," '(T' niid "II," nl Lm l)ii('I ; 'i'liir<l 
Battalion Hoachiuartcrs and ( 'onipany "L," at Tlioiin^c ; 
Company " K," at Nuillc; C\)nii)any "I,"atDollon; and 
Company ''M," at Monfort. 

Down here in the Le Mans ai-oa, the men found life most 
enjoyable, the most satisfactory, the best accommodations 
since our arrival in France. This section of France had not 
suffered like the northern part, and the villages were quite 
pi'osperous in appearance, and the people very kind and 
courteous. Billets were of the best, and as rooms in private 
homes were available, many of the boys rented these for a 
"chambre de couche." At night mother's boy could be 
found nestling deep down among the feathers of an old 
French bed. In truth, we slept like kings, and it reminded 
us of olden times, the pictures we had seen of these old beds 
with their curtains and draperies extending down from the 
ceiling over the bed. The Band, which had l)een out touring 
with the divisional show, now retui-ned and joined the regi- 
ment preparatory to eml)arking. Concerts so long lacking 
wei-e now given daily. T^veiybody was happy and didn't 
mind showing it. 

On March 26th the regiment proceeded over to the large 
so-called Belgian Camp. Here we were assigned to the old 
familiar army tents, which brought l)ack memories of Doni- 
phan days. Oui- time at this camp was spent in numei'ous 
inspections, both physical and otherwise, and all clothing 
was given a good "cootie sweat," and everybod}^ was sub- 
jected to the thrill of a "cootie bath." Friend cootie must 
be left behind. He had been our constant companion for 
months, and was most loyal in devotion, for it was almost 
impossible to break asunder our bonds of friendship during 
these* last bittei- inoincMits. Here we liad to submit to another 


Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Inf((ntr}j 

of those awful ai'iny iiioculalions - this lime a " thi-ee-in-onc" 
shot — and needless to say (luite a number l^ecame cjuite 
''malade" for a few days. In writmp; of our stay here in 
the Belgian Camp to a little French damosel living near 
Paris, a description of the camp and what we had to undergo, 
and mentioning among various things that, ''we were shot 
in the arm today," and went on to explain how the terrible 
needle a foot or so long was jabbed into one's arm and a 

Belgian Camp. Doniphan Days Over. 

''quart" of a vile fluid injected, which caused many to be- 
come sick. An answer a few days later made mention of the 
awful treatment we had been accorded and "la petite mad- 
emoiselle" wondered why or how one could stand to have 
so much as a "quart" of poison injected into the system, and 
that terrible needle must be almost like a bayonet. 

Just prioi- to leaving camp for Brest, Colonel Uowan, a 
Kansas man, was assigiKMl to the I'egiment, and took com- 

]I otncirard Boioirl 190 

iiiaiid luMC. (nloiicl Ixow.'iii li.'id s(m'1i much sc^ivicc as a 
soldier, enlist iiii»; in the old Nalioiial (Uiard in 189(). Dur- 
ing his militaiy career he had served as a Captain, Major 
and Lieutenant-Colonel. He served in the latter capacity 
on the border in 191(). At Doniphan he was commander of 
trains, and served as such in France until ordered to com- 
mand the GDth Brigade Infantry March 12, 1919. He re- 
mained in command of the 137th until we were mustered out 
of the sei-vice at l^^niston. 


[Jayhawkerinf ranee.] 

''At an impressive ceremony which was held on the parade 
ground at the Belgian Camp Sunday, Marcli 30th, the colors 
of the regime nt were decorated by Major-General Wright, 
who formerly commanded the 35th Division at Camp Doni- 
phan. The entire regiment was present for the occasion, 
and it seemed especially fitting that the man who was re- 
s]M)nsible for the high esteem in which the division was held 
in the States could have been the one to honor it at the close 
of its services in France. 

"The regiment was formed at 8: 15 a. m., and, marching 
to the field, went through a f(^w maneuvers before the ar- 
i-ival of the General and his staff. Upon the arrival of the 
(Jeneral, the bugle corps, composed of twenty-two buglers 
under the leadership of Regimental Sergeant Bugler Black, 
followed by Company 'D,' which acted as color company, 
took their position in front of the flag, and Color Sergeant 
R. T. Fagerquist received the colors from their station. The 
bugle corps then sounded 'To the Colors,' while the color 
company saluted with ai-ms i:)resent(Hl. Following the sa- 
lut(^ the Color Sergeant took his position in center of the 
company. The band struck up a march and the color com- 
pany moved to a position in front of the General. As Colonel 
O'Connor gave the command, 'Present Arms,' the bugle 
coi'ps sounded, 'To the ('oloi's,' and the General saluted 
the Hag. At, the command 'Oi'der Arms,' and in the silence 

200 Reminiscences of the lS7th U. S. Jnfantri/ 

wliich followed, the colors were iiiov(xl fi-oin \hv\v j)osi(i()u 
to a i)hic't' directly in front of the General. The fiag was 
then dipped and the General tied on the ribbons of pale 
blue, which was the symbol of our service in France. Upon 
the ribbons the following inscriptions were borne : 

Gerardmer Sector, Vosges, France, 
Juty 8th-September 2nd, 1918. 

Meuse-Argonne Offensive, France, 
"^ September 26th-October 1st, 1918. 

SoMME Dieue Sector, France, 
October 1.5th-November 7th, 1918. 

Il ''After the presentation had been completed, the colors were 
returned to their position in the regiment, and to the music 
of the band the regiment was formed for inspection. No 
formal inspection was held; the General instead, went to 
each of the three battalions in turn and complimented them 
upon their appearance and upon their fine record in France. 
All men who had been recommended for decorations and all 
those who were deserving special mention, were called out 
in front of him and he made a short talk congratulating them 
upon their work. Later, grouping the battalion around him 
General Wright made the following remarks : 

" 'My time is limited and I have but a few moments in 
which to speak to you. This is probal^ly the last time the 
division will ever be together as a body, and I want to take 
this opportunity to greet you again. A few days ago I was 
called to General Headquarters and was told by General 
Pershing that he had work for me in the States, and that I 
could take the 35th Division home. I am glad to be with 
you again. I have the feeling that the 35th is my divi- 
sion, because I worked with you at the beginning of your 
training and because I learned to appreciate your qualities. 

■ ' ' When General Pershing told me I was to j'eturn to you 
lie gave me to understand that you are to feel that you are 
to go home with a sense of duty well done. This is the high- 
est reward of a soldier. I want to emphasize this point, and 
I speak with the experience of thirty-five years as a soldier. 
Medals, decorations, citations do not compare with it. It 


Ilonieamrd Boiuul 201 

is the fiiicsl conipliniciit a coininaiHlcr can pay liis coiniiiand 
to tell tlicin (liat they leave the service as men wlio liav(> 
seen their (hity and have done it faitlifiilly and weU. You 
have had all the average life of a soldier crowded into less 
than a year. Stai'ting at Doniphan I drove you, ch'ove you 
hard. Coming over here you went from training to battle, 
and from l:)attle to the relaxations which followed the sign- 
ing of the armistice. Last fall the high command knew that 
it would ])e necessary to use the American army in final of- 
fensive. They realized that you were not completely sup- 
plied, and th(\y were aware that you did not have all the 
necessary training. But they had need of you and they knew 
they could rely on you, for they knew that you had the one 
prime requisite of the soldier, ^'A hell of a punch." You 
went in and, according to expectations, you delivered. As a 
result, the war is over. If they had waited until you were 
fully equipped, we should be fighting now, and for the next 
year. As I said before, the division may never l)e together 
again, and I take this opportunity to welcome myself ' ' home " 
and to bid you good-bye at the same time. Take with you 
those qualities of a soldier that will help you in civil life — 
and they are many — and leave those behind which will not 
benefit you. T wish you Godspeed and a safe and happy 
return to your homes.' " 

April 4th, movement began for the ]iort of embarkation. 
Entraining at Champagne we rode all night via box cars and 
arrived the next morning at Brest and went into cantonment 
at Camp Pontenezen, a large camp two miles east of tlu^ 
town i:)ro])er. There were thousands of soldiers here await- 
ing ordej-s to embark, and, like many others, our time was 
sp(»nt in inspections and baths, etc. Here all surplus stuff 
must be done away with, and everything to the minutest 
detail made i-egulation. While hen^ we took advantage of 
the numerous entertainments, reading rooms and libraries, 
and had quite an enjoyable time. The last night here a big 
dance was given in lionor of the regiment over in one of the 
numerous ^'Y" buildings. 

202 Retn in /secures of the tSlth U . S. I iijuntnj 

On the morning of April 11th, packs were shing, baggage 
forwarded down to tlie docks, and the regiment "fell in." 
The march down to the docks resembled a fmieral ])arade. 
Oi'ders were given that there would be no talking or any 
unnecessary noise, for the least sound would lead to the 
regiment being kept l)ack in camp foi- thirty days. Stringent 
rules were to be oljsei-ved until we were on the boat and out 
of sight of land. 

As we marched along under heavy packs the only apparent 
sound was the heavy breathing of the men and the clatter 
of hobnails upon the pavement. A phantom scene, figures 
slinking away as though fearing detection. At the docks 
we were assembled in a large shed, and as the companies 
wei'e called one by one, they marched out in single file through 
a checking door, where as each man's name was called he re- 
sponded with his first name and initial. In this way, a check 
was kept. We boarded a '' lighter" and were conveyed out 
to the waiting transport a mile or so out in the harbor. Off 
the historic soil of France at last. It was strange, but in- 
spiring it felt. There was but one thought uppermost now, 
and that was, we wanted to see the old girl standing out there 
with her right arm upraised beckoning us onward to home 
and mother, wife or — in fact anyone glad to see us back. 
As we pulled up alongside the hugh transport, we beheld 
other lighters unloading their human cargo, and so it i-e- 
mained for us to stand there on deck of our little boat from 
2 p. M. until 6 :30 p. m, in a drizzly rain, and cold to the mar- 
row, but we bore it. Who wouldn't? We finally loaded 
on to the big ship and were soon situated. We were now on 
the good ship Manchuria, a formei- Pacific mail steamer which 
had plied between San Francisco and Hong Kong, China. 
This was her tenth voyage across the Atlantic. A 1)rief de- 

o > 


Homeward Bound 205 

scription of her capacity : She had a length of 615 feet, dis- 
placement of 27,000 tons, took 1,056,000 gallons of fresh 
water, 40,000 tons of coal, sufficient for a round trip, two 
gi-eat engines, twelve boilers, thirty-six huge furnaces, and 
twin propellers. ' ^ Some baby ' ' we agree. The compartments 
liad all ])een taken out and bunks three high were crowded 
together, each section of three, two feet apart. It was some- 
what crowded with 4,771 officers and enlisted men aboard. 
Also had some of the faii-er sex on board, but — they were for 
'^officers only." However, a musician is so situated that he 
''gets by" with 'Mots of stuff." A musician is always sus- 
ceptible to being asked a favor many times and — well, what's 
good for the goose is good for the gander. Colonel Rowan 
was in command of all troops on board ; Major Ellis, mess 
officer ; Major Bonney, ti'affic officer ; Major Vaughn, police 
officer. Our meals were served via the "line up" route. 
We received our "eats" below on deck 2, and went up on 
deck and devoured the " conglomerated" stuff. Thus mess 
began, although at times it didn't ; it depended upon the 
individual's temperament, which fluctuated with the weather. 
We lay there in the harbor at Brest from Friday night, April 
11th, until Sunday morning, Api-il 13th, when we pulled 
anchor at 6 a. m. and headed for the open sea and home. We 
were now standing up on deck watching the land which for 
twelve months had mothered us, the land where so many 
and varied experiences had been met, the land where 
many a mother's son had, through the vicissitudes of war and 
its prevailing hardships and experiences, grown from adult 
to manhood. As this historic land of Joan of Ai-c passed 
beneath the eastern hoi-izon, we bade our last farewell and from 
llieiice on set our eyes westward, out to where, "the West 
begins," The second day at sea we encountered a severe 

200 Renihmccnces of the 137ih U. S. Infantry 

storm, which upset more than one doughboy's ''inner calcu- 
lations," and it was no uncommon sight to see almost an 
entire platoon lined up before the rail bowing and nodding 
heads in meek humiliation to the God of the Seas, and at 
the same time uttering a peculiar chant which for a time was 
quite unknown to some of us until we felt the binding need 
of discipleship and joined the sea- worshippers. This lan- 
guage of chant became quite adapted to us then and we were 
ardent subjects. If j^ou have never been seasick, you cannot 
possibly realize the feeling as it really is. 

On the sixth day out we ran into another storm, which was 
to the disliking of everybody on board. Waves fully forty 
feet high would come swashing over the decks. It was a 
wonderful sight to stand and watch these mountains come 
rolling along and break over the decks. One little corporal, 
sitting on the deck attempting to down his food, was swept — 
mess, human and all — clear ao'oss the deck, and, coming up 
with a sudden halt at the opposite railing, he rose to his feet 
and exclaimed, ''If that happens again, I'll get off and walk." 

During the day we spent most of our time up on deck read- 
ing or writing, providing the ship's list was not very acute. 
During the evenings, concerts by the ship's band and our 
own band, alternating, were given. We passed a number of 
ships which were headed for France. Every time a boat 
would be sighted in the distance, the cry was sounded by 
some doughboy, and this would bring others to the spot. 
It seemed as thougli another vessel on that vast ocean was quite 
a novelty, and we all took a squint when opportunity^ af- 
forded. April 20th, Easter Sunday, was duly observed on 
board, and Easter services wei'e held out on deck by the 
ship's Chaplain, assisted by the ship's })and. For our Easter 
dinner, ''beans were served" — nothing more, nothing less — 
beans and beans only. 

Homeward Bound 207 

On Monday, the 21st, we first noticed sea gulls flying 
around the boat. We were then three days out from the 
U. S. A. At dawn of the 23rd, everybody was up and packs 
rolled and the ship cleaned and scrubbed. We were to land 
this day, and everybody was fully aware of the fact. Wc 
were nearing God's country and home. Long before land 
hove in sight every doughboy was up on deck, in life-boats, 
on masts and riggings, and one energetic fellow had climbed 
up into the ''crow's-nest" awaiting to be proclaimed the 
modern ''discoverer" of America. About noon we passed 
the first lightship, and about an hour later a thunderous 
cheer was given. Land could be seen far off ahead. Think 
of it! that place where for twelve months we had longed to 
be was now in sight! — a feeling which comes once in a life- 
time. There might possibly be another feeling similar, but 
yet so different — "that time" you stole "only one" among 
the lilacs and roses. However, this time there was nothing 
backward about movement or desire ; we saw land ahead 
and we cared not who knew it. That was the point, we 
wanted everybody to realize it. About 2 p. m. we pulled 
into the straits, passing Coney and Staten Islands. We had 
not stopped at Quarantine, but a tug bearing the inspector 
had met us and the proper official had mounted the ship and 
upon examining the papers pronounced us "safe characters," 
and onward we went. In a little while we beheld a small tug 
steaming out to meet us — the Kansas reception committee — 
beaiing Governor Allen, General Martin, Colonel Hoising- 
ton, Senator Capper, General Metcalf, and many other dis- 
tinguished personages. Numerous placards with such in- 
scriptions as, "Kansas welcomes you home!" "Hello, To- 
peka!" "Welcome back to Wichita!" and others were in 
evidence. It was then the boys put over a real barrage which 

208 ReniinisceNccs of the 1 37th (>. S. [nfantiij 

seemed to shake the big ship from stem to stern. Upon this 
reception boat were numerous relatives and friends of many 
of the boys, and as the httle tug came alongside the ship, 
pitched voices were heard inquiring, '^Is Harry there?" 
''Where is John?" ''Oh, there you are!" "Hello, son!" 
"Great guns, how you have grown!" "Have you had a 
nice trip?" ''Been feeling well?" etc. And John, forget- 
ting his vows to the God of Waters a few days previous, re- 
plies, "Yep, felt fine all the time." About this time the 
mayor's boat with his reception unit steams out to meet and 
greet us, and their band strikes up such tantalizing airs as, 
"The Girl I Left Behind Me," and the "Old Grey Mare." This 
last selection proved that the mayor's musicians were far 
behind the times, for what connection has the "old grey mare 
with the girl that was left behind?" We are living in a new 
age, the automobile age, and whatever the old grey mare 
might have contributed to a successful "date" in past days, 
she is entirely out of the running today. Even a "Ford" 
holds more attraction to the erstwhile maiden. 

As the Statue of Li})erty hove in sight, the doughl)oys had 
another spasm, and 1 am sun; the pedestrians over on Broad- 
way stopped in wonderment upon hearing that sound. Here 
at last we beheld the okl gii'l standing much the same as when 
we went away twelve months previous. The skyscrapers of 
New York city looked odd to us, as we had only seen build- 
ings of no more than five stories for months. We realized, 
if never before, that we were back in the land of the living. 
Docking at Pier No. 1, packs were slung and we filed over the 
gangplank. As we stepped upon terra firma of the old 
U. S. A. we shook and stamped our feet in order to shake off 
whatever mici-obos of dust and dirt might ])e sticking about, 
for we cared not for any more "souvenir de La France" just 

/ hum iiuird Hound 209 

then. It was Kansas Day at Hoboken, and over 8000 men 
and officers "deboated." 

We had no sooner landed than the t(de^raph wires l)etween 
New York and Kansas were in operation in our l)ehalf . While 
standing there on the pier watching telegrams being made 
up, I saw one fellow send the following: '^Arrived safely; 
send fifty dollars." Asking him if he thought he would re- 
ceive the fifty, he replied, "Yay, boy; it will })e worth that 
to see me." I rather imagine he was right. Here at Hobo- 
ken we received a hot piping supper from the Red Cross, and 
liere it was we were treated to our first bit of iva] honest to 
goodness apple pie, the first many of us had had for over a 
year. Loading on the ferry, we were conveyed over to Long 
Island, and there took train for Camp Upton, arriving there 
at midnight. Our first engagement here was to undergo 
another ^'cootie" bath and a general cleaning up. During 
our stay here in camp ev(M'ybody was granted 48-hour passes 
to New York City, and thus we came once more into contact 
with American life in full bloom. The boys' favorite ren- 
dezvous in the big metropolis were such places as the Hip- 
podrome, opera, the Follies, ice cream parlors, and the like. 
We were now enjoying all the benefits of which we had been 
deprived for months. Money was spent quite freely,- and 
as a rule everybody was well supplied with the ''filthy lucre." 
They had been saving up their shekels for months for just 
such a time. Ice cream and pie were given the monopoly 
over everything else. 

Although miles away from Kansas, still we felt I'ather close 
to said spot. True, we had been accustomed to be several 
thousand miles away, and with the mighty ocean between 
at that. After several days resting up, if it might be called 
that, and getting rid of all replacements, sending them to 

210 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infanfri/ 

their home camps, we were ready for the last leg of our jour- 
ney. Thirteen hundred and seventy men and officers were 
detached from the regiment here, which cut in upon our 
roster considerably. Sunday, May 3rd, the regiment com- 
menced entraining, and the last units were on their way by 
late Monday. It was quite a luxury to once more be riding 
in first-class Pullmans, and we showed our appreciation dur- 
ing several instances of our trip westward. The journey re- 
quired four days and three nights. All along the route we 
met with a hearty reception. People crowded the station 
platforms to bid welcome to the returning veterans of the 
world-war. Although not personally acquainted, we seemed 
to feel that we belonged more or less to one another. Our 
mess consisted for the most part of sandwiches, coffee, ice 
cream and pie, and this was sufficient. We stopped a short 
while in Washington, D. C, and passed through Jersey City, 
Trenton, Philadelphia, through West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana 
and Missouri. The trip over the Alleghany Mountains re- 
minded us of the scenery down in Alsace and of the Vosges 
Mountains. Reaching St. Louis, we detrained for mess and 
a little limbering up. Leaving the B. & O. here, we took the 
Chicago & Alton for Kansas City and arrived there by sec- 
tions during the course of Wednesday and Thursday. Here 
part of the regiment was entertained in royal fashion. The 
writer happened to be on the late train and never reached 
Kansas City until daylight Thursday morning, and thus missed 
out on this celebration. Although the hour was early, many 
relatives and friends were down to meet us, and more than 
one sleeping mother's son was called out of his berth by some 
gentle voice enquiring for him. Leaving Kansas City, we 
arrived in Topeka and there detrained and were met with a 
perfect barrage of ''eats," served by the Red Cross canteen 

■Homeioard Boimd 211 

workers. This day \vv eiijoytnl a real chicken (hnner and 
many other effects of the cuhnary art. With all cliu; courtesy 
and sincerity, let it. be said that the Topeka Chapter of the 
Red Cross Canteen Service tendered us one of the best re- 
ceptions we had ever been accorded. The women composing; 
that unit have for months past been doing a mammoth serv- 
ice, and one that cannot be reckoned in dollars and cents. 
To Mrs. C. L. Mitchell and her able cohorts, we give 
salute ! 

At 2 p. M. the 130th Field Artillery Regiment and the 137th 
Infantry assembled for the ])ig parade, and by 2 :30 p. m. the 
line of march had commen(!ed. Straight up Kansas Avenue 
they went with bands playing and colors to the breeze. 
Thousands of people lined both sides of the line of march, 
and at one juncture flower giiis stood as sentries by the way- 
side, and as the helmeted veterans passed, hundreds of 
flowers were scattered along their pathway. During this 
flower shower, our band was playing, and eyes which should 
have been on the music were glancing hither and thither. 
Our bass player, who was playing a helicon hass, was "step- 
ping 'em off" in rhythmic style, both cheeks and lungs doing 
''extra detail." At a very critical juncture of that particular 
march piece, and just as he was about to commence a rapid 
upward run on his horn, a huge bouquet came "minniewurf- 
ering" through the air and alighted deep down in the bell of 
his instrument (among the bass notes). As this happened 
at the most psychological moment of that young man's 
career and as he was about to show his home folks the art of 
''shimmying" up into unknown heights, he blasted forth as 
the rose struck, and in place of hitting "A" flat, the instru- 
ment gave vent to a horrible blood-curdling groan which 
nearly broke up the line of march. Most every musician 

212 Ixoninisccnccs of I he t.)7lh l\ S. htfinitnj 

stopped playiiiji; uiid looked around to see who had suc- 
cumbed to the excitement of the cheering crowds. 

Along the line of march numerous placards befitting the 
occasion were on display. ''How's Cheppy?" ''We Got 
You, Varennes;" "Ask Mademoiselle to Promenade; She 
Will." The line of march broke ranks out on the terrace of 
the State House, and here family reunions were enjoyed. 
Topeka was "right" that day, and the boj^s were accorded 
a reception beyond their wildest dreams. Here was Mother 
holding her boy to her bosom. "My, but you have grown, 
and how well you look." There was "Dad" slapping his 
boy on the back and saying, "I told ya, son, that you could 
do it ; and you sure had the Huns on the run." Over there a 
"3'oung daddy" in his uniform holding his youngest for the 
first time and looking him or her over with a ci'itical eye — 
sure, a chip of the old l)lock." 

Many a doughboy enjoyed his first I'eal I'ide in something 
better than an army truck. No French lassie today; far 
from it ; in fact, six thousand miles from it. He was invited 
to numerous car rides, and it seemed as though eveiy fail* 
damsel in town had a car and every one was in arms (figm- 
atively speaking) to do his or her part in entertaining the 
boys. In place of riding on some old high tw^o-wheeled cart 
on his way to the village, John, Dick, and Joe were seated 
in some luxurious Packard, Chalmers, etc., with a real honest 
to goodness American mademoiselle by his side. Yes, at 
times he did feel a little out of place. Those pesky "hob- 
nails" were forever in prominent foreground, and several 
times he almost caught himself on "army slang." However, 
he was back among his own kith and kin, and they realized 
that if his somewhat wrinkled uniform (which had been 
censored bv the Charges de Cooties) and his hobnails and 

1 1 onictrdid HoiuhI 218 

his army voniacuhir had Ikhmi i^inyd enough in France while 
facing the foe, the^^ were equally good enough or even better 
over here. They wanted to see him as he appeared during 
his strenuous days over there. Leaving Topeka about 6 :30 
p. M., we proceeded on our way to Camp Funston, where we 
were to be mustered out. At Manhattan it seemed as if 
the entire city had turned out to greet us. With band play- 
ing and the babble of hundreds of voices, it took on the ap- 
pearance of some great booster movement, and I guess it 
was. Every man, woman and child was a booster, as they 
had hevn during the wai-. Companies of the Second and 
Third Battalions were enjoying the hospitality of Wichita, 
Hutchinson, Great Bend and other places. We reached 
Funston about 8 :30 that evening of May 7, 1919, and, de- 
ti'aining, went immediately to assigned barracks. It was 
then and there our clerical force got busy, and, supplemented 
by every man in the regiment who could pound a typewriter 
or make out records, the paper ban-age started. They 
woi'ked two entire nights, and had all records (completed by 
Saturday. Our time was spent in turning in equipment and 
signing numerous documents and papers. Never had we 
signed so many official documents in our whole life. First 
one thing and then another. 

On Saturday, May 10, 1919, at 10:30 a. m. we underwent 
our final physical examination, and were pronounced ''fit" 
to return to civil life. Records showed that every man had 
improved physically and mentally, and was going back to 
civil life a grown man. At 1 p. m. we were called out and 
mai-chcd over to (lie disbursing office and there, as our names 
were called we s(('i)i)ed u]), gave our last military salute, re- 
ceived our ''salary" in one hand and our "discharge papers'' 
in the othei". Without stopping to salute an acknowledg- 

214 Roniniscences of the 137th U. S. Ivjantrii 

meiit, we hit for tlu; door, and ouce outside gave vent to our 
feelings in a most fantastic manner and very unbecoming a 
''civilian." Few good-byes were said, but with grip in one 
hand and extras in the other we set swift pace for the rail- 
road station. It was an angry mob awaiting there, and as 
the train pulled in we advanced hundreds deep for the ''final 
attack." That was the last seen of ye doughboy. The 
months of toil and hardships were now behind him ; he was 
a free man once more, and he was willing to let the dead past 
bury its dead. Today he sits amid old familiar environs and 
j'ules a king supreme. 



Dear little sad-eyed children of France, 
Once on a time when the world was gay, 

In the streets of Paris you danced and sang. 
God grant you again a happy day. 
Sad little children of France. 

Wan little weary-eyed children of France, 
In the streets of Paris you knelt today. 

Knelt at the sight of a succoring flag. 

Knelt in the streets where you used to i)lay. 
Heartbroken children of France. 

We are thinking today of the long ago, 

Kneeling children beyond the sea. 
When your fathers came with hearts aflame 

To us, in the name of Liberty, 

Fatherless children of France. 

You knelt in the streets as the flag went l^y, 
Our flag with a glory strangely new. 

The stars of Heaven gleamed in its folds, 
Strewn but today in that field of blue, 
For you, O children of France. 

Dear little war-smitten children of France, 
In our hearts is a prayer as the flag goes by— 

For the flag we have vowed to a glorious quest, 
For the flag aflame on a far-away shore. 
For God — and the babies of France. 

21. 5 

21() IxctNi nIsccnccs of l/ic loTfh ( . S. Injdnlni 

Over a century ago there came to America a young French 
nobleman with six thousand of his countrymen. They came 
to risk all for freedom and truth. They had nothing to gain 
for themselves save the joy of unselfish service. To them 
would come neither land nor wealth ; their portion would be 
hardship, battles and wounds and death. 

They were torch-bearers of civilization, bringing light and 
hope to a people struggling against disaster and defeat. 
They came at an opportune time. They fought bravely 
and well, and some among them died. Their courage and 
sacrifice helped to make possible a new nation in the western 
world. And then, when victory had been won and the long 
war was over, the gallant Lafayette and those of his little 
company who still remained, made their way home. The 
land for which they fought, suffei*ed and died, (Mishrined them 
forever in sacred memory. 

In 1914, when those dogs of war were unleashed in the far 
off Balkans, the world awoke with startled breath. As the 
days lengthened into weeks and weeks to years, the trans- 
gressor was slowly but siu'ely weaving a net around himself. 
It was then, above the fury of the tempest, could be heard 
what was likened unto a voice saying, "Lo, I am with you," 
and at His summons came from the western world thousands 
of the flower of American j^outh, ready to die for the liberty 
of the land from which a little company of French heroes 
had sailed for American shores more than a century before. 

France, wonderful France, courageous in her hour of trial, 
.was saved from greedy and unscrupulous enemies. The 
triumph of right over wrong became doul)ly assiu'ed when the 
ever growing hosts of American manhood united their strength 
with hers and that of her Allies in crushing a ruthless and 
brutal foe. Lafayette and his daring six thousand helped 

W'orhl Citizens 217 

to turn the tide for the struggling states in the dark days of 
the American Revolution ; Pershing and his legions in their 
hoiu- helped to turn the tide in the dark days of 1918, when 
France and the world were in peril. One hundred and fort}^ 
years ago the brave sons of France cast their bread upon 
the waters of liberty. More than a century after, the bread 
they had cast upon the waters returned to them again. 

After passing through the World War, meeting new and varied 
experiences, assimilating new ideas, learning new customs, 
perceiving new ideals, permitted an opportunity of studying 
other peoples and countries, we beheld for the first time the 
contrast of people and things. It was then we learned how 
to appreciate our own land and what she had to offer as a de- 
mocracy. It was then that we realized the worth of giving. 
The noblest sacrifice that a peaceful country can demand of 
its citizens is that they go to war in defense of that country. 
But as our great philosopher Emerson said, ''In his best 
moments no one speaks of sacrifice." What we learned 
from our foreign stay was the fact that it was true the United 
States, more than any other country, offers privileges of in- 
dividual freedom and of poUtical unity, opportunities for 
unlimited prosperity. These gifts have not narrowed, they 
have broadened the hearts, the minds, th(^ souls of the Amer- 
icans ; they have made of him, not an egoist, not a mere 
unit in a family, but a humanitarian ; they brought him into 
this late war. 

One point we are to bear in mind is the fact that, during 
our fight for our liberty and independence, the French gave 
us their support to a degree. It was French money that 
bought shoes for our soldiers, when, in the winter of 1776, 
they were wnlkiiig barefoot in (he snow. It was the French 
ships which ]ieli)ed us at sea, and the French troops under 

218 Retniniscences of the 137lh U. S. Infantry 

Lafayette and Rochambeau which made possible our final 
victory at Yorktown. Thus we can link together in our 
minds gratitude for the privileges which have made us the 
greatest democracy in the world. True, since we have re- 
turned from that land across the sea, many of us do so with 
a certain feeling of "riddance of bad rubbish." We are tired 
of the French, their customs, ideas and what not. Many 
times we have listened to the remarks of some resentful 
young "Yank" as he was pouring out his tale of woe — how 
the French robbed them, were inconsiderate and rude. 

That high prices were charged, that misunderstandings 
arose, we admit. We expected they would. Can one pic- 
ture other than high prices, economical observances, a care- 
ful eye on all possessions, in a country that has been attempt- 
ing to hold a foe at bay for over four years? Imagine what 
it would have meant to our own land had we suffered the 
trials and tribulations which our ally across the sea suffered. 
As we grow older, our figures just a little stooped, our steps 
just a little uncertain, we shall look back upon the time 
when the thousands of us, the young, vigorous manhood of 
this land, went across the sea to there step into the inferno 
of a living hell, and how as young fighting "bloods" carried 
with us that unbounded vigor and snap so characteristic of 
young manhood. How we came among a people who were 
burdened down with four years of hellish war with all its 
trials and burdens. How they beheld us and wondered at 
our spirit. More than once, the thought of, "Those Ameri- 
cans seem so carefree, so young and spirited, they do not 
realize the consequences of war," no doubt appeared to the 
minds of our French friends. 

Many of us — you may be among the number — landed at 
some small French port in France, and traveled across coun- 

World Citizens 219 

try in trucks, or perhaps cattle cars, to a training camp with- 
out seeing even one large city, much less Paris. You perhaps 
drove over roads — in peace times the best in the world — now 
much injured by heavy travel and lack of repair. You 
passed along fields which for four years had been cultivated 
by the wilhng but weak arms of the women, the children and 
the old men. You passed houses in some little village which 
were closed forever, fathers and sons having been killed at 
the Front. You met aged men who had lost their sons, women 
who had lost their husbands, young girls who had lost their 
sweethearts. All the joy for these people had gone out of 
life. Their valor remained. In many places the houses, 
the trees, the ground itself, had been shattered and hope- 
lessly wrecked by the cannon of the enemy. As this picture 
portrayed was perhaps all you saw in France, you could 
little judge what this country used to be. You could only 
touch the desolate soul of a land you had come to help 

Remember that little French poilu soldier, he with the 
beard, those snappy wideawake Latin eyes, his quick tem- 
peramental outbursts, how passions of quick anger or ex- 
treme joy took possession of his being? How, when you 
understood him, he rejoiced with you and patted you on the 
back, exclaiming, '' Americain soldat, tres bon, tres bon. Bon 
ami," etc. Did you reahze that that little Frenchman 
boasted of an ancestry who had, generation after genera- 
tion, given their all in defense of their country; had been 
valiant, strong-hearted and patriotic from the deep depths 
of their hearts? They had ; and here standing before you 
was one of these who willingly and gladly had been offering 
his all for months, nay, years, for his love for country and 
its ideals were dearer than life to him. No wonder we must 

220 Reminiscences of the 137th V . S. Infaiilri/ 

honor the children of France for what they are at heart. We 
have in truth learned much from our little poilu friend. 

You're a funny fellow, poilu, in your dinky little cap, 

And your war-worn uniform of blue. 
With your multitude of haversack, abulge from heel to fiu}), 

And your rifle that is most as big as you. 
You were made for love and laughter, for good wine and merry song ; 

Now your sunlit world has sadly gone astray. 
And the road today you travel stretches rough and red and long, 

Yet you make it, petit soldat, brave and gay. 

Though you live within the shadow, fagged and hungiy half the whiles 

And your days and nights are racking in the line, 
There is nothing under Heaven that can take away your smile, 

Oh, so wistful, and so patient, and so fine. 
You are tender as a woman with the tiny ones who crowd 

To upraise their lips and for your kisses pout — 
Still, we'd hate to have to face you when the bugle's sounding loud, 

And your slim, steel sweetheart "Rosalie" is out. 

You're devoted to mustaches, which you twirl with such an air 

O'er a cigarette with nigh an inch to run. 
And quite often you are noticed in a beard that's full of hair. 

But that heart of yoiu's is always twenty-one. 
No, you do not *' parley English," and you find it very hard. 

For you want to chum with us, and words you lack ; 
So you pat us on the shoulder and say, "Nous sommos comarades" ; 

We are that, my poilu pal, to hell and back. 

It was un/ortunate that while you were over there you 
could not see the better side of French life. 

The French, like the Americans, have often been mis- 
judged. People have thought the Americans purely com- 
mercial in spirit — that they were a nation of "shopkeepers." 
The French have been stamped "frivolous." Perhaps they 
are to a cei-tain extent, and even a little "gay" in the old 
Puritan sense of the woid. In the writer's experience, it 

W'orld Cflizcns 221 

might be added that he lias never yet met a people who so 
enjoy the very essence of Hving like our French friends. 
Life is theirs to enjoy. Along with all this, they are well 
balanced, perhaps more so than most people. They have 
strong hearts, strong minds, and strong wills. They have 
also a keen sense of the ridiculous and the same sort of wit 
that Americans have — as quick as a flash, and which lets noth- 
ing escape it. They are far more conventional, because an 
older people than we. In their trades and industries the}^ 
are highly efficient, and where the American motto reads 
''Get On!" The French is, ''Stand Fast!" 

He who says "home" in France, says "marriage"; no 
hearthstone can be kept warm for more than one generation 
by the old maids and bachelors. The question of marriage 
is of foremost importance in French life. It seems to de- 
termine all social activity. Young people must marry ; to 
found a family is a sacred duty. When mademoiselle reaches 
the age of about twenty, or a young man the age of twenty- 
five, their parents and their friends begin to look about ; the 
family doctor, lawyer, the curate, all set out in search for a 
life companion suitable to the young person to be married. 
How different here in America. Sometimes the old grey 
mare comes in upon the scene ; other times the faithful little 
"Ford" carries awa}- the fleeing pair, the justice is called on 
during the wee hours of night, the formality observed, and 
the curtain rings down. Sometimes they live "happily ever 
after," other times not. 

France has the greatest natural resources, or might I say 
"riches," of any country in Europe, except Russia. It has, 
therefore, from the beginning of its history, been the victim 
of repeated invasions on the part of covetous neighbors. 
The first battle of the Marne was fought against the Hun 

222 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

chief, Atilla, whom the French defeated near Chalons in the 
year 451. Until comparative!}^ recent times, feudal lords, 
who owned most of the land in Europe, Avere continually 
fighting against each other and against their king. France 
was the first modern country to establish her political unity, 
in 1643. For over a thousand years she has been struggling 
toward this end. National unity is one of the ideals for 
which France has always been willing to give her life. An- 
other ideal which has seemed to her worth dying for, is 
democracy. By this she means liberty, fraternity and equal- 
ity. All the great men of France have contributed to the 
furtherance of these ideals. 

France covers an area of 207,054 square miles, less than 
the size of Texas. When this is taken into consideration, 
we must needs realize what she accomplished in keeping the 
foe engaged for so many years of the late war. While de- 
scribing in a most meager way a few impressions we received 
while over there, the reader, especially you who were not 
fortunate enough to cross the mighty expanse of the billowy 
deep, would wonder why so many of the Americans who were 
'^ucky" enough to come within the environs of ''gay Paree" 
speak in such glowing terms of this place. Paris today is 
considered one of the most beautiful, if not the most beauti- 
ful, of all cities. The writer had the good fortune of visiting 
this metropolis on two stated occasions, spending twelve 
days there. During that time so much was seen and heard 
that it would take a good-sized volume to describe to you 
the wonders of this place. My first impression of Paris was, 
no one works, everybody is happy and carefree. There is no 
manufacturing done here — only the customary Parisian 
shops, wine gardens, cafes, restaurants and the like. Clothes 
made here? Very true, the finest clothes in the world; but 

World Cttizem . 223 

again we contend, no one works. For occupying their time 
in store- and shop-keeping, the pretty little ''modistes" en- 
gaged in fashioning the new creations, do so with such in- 
terest, such pride, such pleasure, that it appears to be so 
much play. Their hearts are in the work and to a decided 
degree. It is a pleasure to watch them at this play. For 
the benefit of you who are interested, let it be said, nowhere 
in all our ti'avels both in this country and abroad, have we 
seen such taste in dress, such wonderfully good taste, as 
these Parisians display. Our own New York could not 
compete, and that, by the way, is saying a great deal. In 
Paris it is not what you wear, but how you wear it, that 
counts. This regards women's clothes. Although claiming 
no authority on women's styles, one cannot but notice the 
effects of this and that. Perfectly natural in a place like 
that. Here one sees aristocracy and society at its best, 
and although wearing ''hobnails" and carrying perhaps a 
few of those "creeping" species, the American doughboy 
who was fortunate in mixing within the august circle won- 
dered whether the sight that met his eyes was but a vision 
or perchance a dream. Those who fought the "battle of 
Paris" were "lucky birds" to say the least, and were en- 
vied by more than one weary mud-bespattered doughboy up 

Having portrayed to the reader but a very condensed de- 
scription of the many impressions we received while in 
France, we must pass on. We are now back in God's coun- 
try and among his people after twelve months "Over There." 
We were many going over, but fewer coming back. Those 
of us who, as it seemed, were ordained to return to country 
and home, did so with a feeling that we had been out in the 
world. Had seen, heard and felt much, and which was to 

224 Reminiscences of the 137th U. S. Infantry 

leave its impi'int upon our future lives. We realize this now 
more than we did sometime ago. As these lines are being 
written undei" the lighting rays of the midnight oil, we arc 
inclined to feel that something has entered into our lives 
which hitherto was quite unknown. How different from a 
few months ago when we were leaving home and dear ones. 
It seemed as though we were but mere lads going out into 
the world in cjuest of sometliing Avhich at the time seemed 
hard to find. We were young, "rookish," unsettled and 
restless. The world appeai-ed as so much ground upon 
which was built a few quarrelsome peoples, nations and 
homes. All looked more or less alike. We hai'dly knew 
such as responsibility, although we did have a faint idea of 
what was needed and did our best as avc saw it. Today, 
however, the sceiK^ is changed. We have returned home, 
let us hope at least, bigger, loetter, stronger men and citizens, 
and do now realize our forthcoming responsibilities. We 
now realize that we, you and I, are stockholders in the great- 
est institution builded upon the sands of the earth. Today, 
we stand firmer for Democracy, Freedom, Equality, than 
ever before. You mothers of America, your sons who went 
away as mere lads, have come back to you inen, and the forth- 
coming years are to prove this assertion. Yesterday, we 
went away, '^ State citizens" if you please; today, we have 
returned, world citizens. We see the brotherhood of man 
not merely in a local way, but in a worldly manner, for we 
realize that if the world is really to be made safe for de- 
mocracy, it means that all, each one of us, must needs realize 
our responsibility to our fellowmen, and our motto must 
read, ''Co-operation and Brotherly Love." Where once the 
sword was mightier than the pen, now, the tables are to be 
reversed, and whatever we are to say or do must be in the 

Worhl Citizens 225 

iiit(M'est, not of the individual, hut in tlu^ interost of i)(H)i)le8. 
To this end, the motto of woi'ld citizens would portray: 
''I expect to pass througli this life l)ut once. If, therefore, 
there is any kindness I can show or any good I can do to 
any fellow ])eino;, let me do it now; let m(^ nol d(^fei' it, foi- 
I shall not pass this way again." 

Then again, we have done what was expected of us during 
the past few months. Now we must go on and keep the 
pace we have set. We owe it not alone to ourselves but to 
posterity, and while thus thinking of posterity we recall the 
little verse : 

Babes in their golden hour 

Seeking some hidden flower, 

Will in those years afar, 

Play on the fields of war. 



II('(i(h/ii(ni('rs Co/n pani/. 

Formed l^y the consolidation of Headquarters Company 
of the First Kansas Infantry, of Lawrence, Kansas, and Head- 
quarters Company of the Second Kansas Infantry, of Hutch- 
inson, Kansas, with Captain Fred E. Elhs in command. 

Headquartei's Company, formerly composed Regimental 
Headquarters, the Band, orderlies, and non-commissioned 
officers of regimental staff. It now called for a personnel 
of 298 men, divided into five platoons — Headquarters, Sig- 
nal, One-Pounders, Pioneer and Sappers, and Bombers. In 
the consolidation. Captain Ellis began a "weeding out" 
process, and in this manner l)rought the company to a high 
state of efficiency. The Signal Platoon was composed of 
linemen, i-epaiiinen, electricians and runners. They handled 
lines of comnumication, either by t telephone, wireless, run- 
ners, or carrier pigeons. 

The One-Pounders — three sections, each handling a 37- 
mm. gun, a small piece of artillery used for effective '^ spot- 
ting" of machine gun nests and other difficult objectives. 

The Sappers and Bombers, or ''Stokes' Mortar" Platoon, 
consisted of three sections, handling two Stokes' mortar 
guns to each section. Object, to destroy enemy trenches, 
dugouts, barbed wii'c (Mitanglements, and in general cause 
a dent in the moiale of the opposing ti'oops. 

The Pioneer Platoon was oui- engineer unit, which did re- 
pairing, Iniilding, and were usually engaged in construction 


230 AppencHx 

and destruction, depending upon the nature of the work at 
hand. Platoons of Headquarters Company played an im- 
portant part during the Argonne drive. As the platoons 
composing this company were units of experts in their vari- 
ous lines, the nature of their work was most important. 
Later on, the persoimel of Headquarters Company called for 
.119 men. 

Supply Company. 

Captain E. A. Noonan, of Second Kansas Supply Com- 
pany, was senior officer when the regiment was organized. 
He was unit supply officer until February 14, 1918. 

First Lieutenant Paul Simpson, of McPherson County, 
was transport officer, and he developed the transport service 
to an acme of perfection. The First, Second and Third 
Battalions' supply were in charge of Sergeants Wainer, Clark 
and Henney respectively, and to them is due much credit 
for efficiency and service. It was the duty of the 
Sui:)ply Company to feed and clothe 3000 men at all times 
and under varying conditions. Theirs was not a life of pleas- 
ui'c, as one trip especially would testify, namely the route 
leading up from the Forest de Haye to the Forest de Ar- 
gonne. It meant eight days of rain and mud and through a 
hitter cold. Serving as supply officer while over in France, 
much credit is due Captain F. E. Barr. His lot was any- 
thing but easy, and conditions demanded the best that was 
in him. Captain Barr was a member of our ''Big Three" 
and one of the most popular officers in the regiment. 

Mcflicdl (U)rpH. 

Captain Oscar Hanson, regimental surgeon. Four in- 
firmaiies, one for each battalion and one foi- Regimental 

Ajypcitdix 231 

Hoadquarter.s, wen* maintained. Lieutenants Feige and 
Kirkpatrick proved tli(* mainstays of this section, and what- 
ever was desired was usually to be had throup;h the en- 
deavors of these two indivichials. 

Machine Gun Co7npany. 

I<V)rnied from First Kansas Infantry Machine (luii Com- 
pany, organized at Humboldt, Kansas, and the Second Kansas 
Infantry Machine Gun Company, of Hutchinson, formerly 
commanded by Captain Frank D. Mathias, and consisted 
of 74 men. Later, Captain Guy Rexroad, with like num- 
bers, consohdated the two companies at Doniphan into the 
137th Machine Gun Company. Captain F. E. Barr, of 
Wichita, commanded this unit until he was placed in charge 
of the supply unit. Upon arrival in France, this company 
was formed into a provisional machine gun battalion, with 
Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Tucker in command. 

Intelligence Section. 

Although considered a part of Headquai'tc^rs Company, 
this unit conducted most of its work independent of the com- 
mand. Organizetl at Doniphan, it was placed under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant J. C. Haehle early in October, 1917, the 
personnel consisted of one regimental intelligence officer, 
three sergeants and five first-class privates. In November, 
1917, Lieutenant Daum took command of the section and 
remained in charge until August, 1918. Lieutenant Dorsey 
later came into charge. He was kilknl while on duty in the 
Argonne. The work of the Intelligence section was com- 
})li('ated and severe. It demanded specialists who knew the 
woi-k of the department from all angles. It was their duty 
1() keep maps of I'eginuMit's movements, watch and iccord 

232 Apj)endix 

enemy moves, tabulate all the regiment's activities, either in 
the trenches or back of the hnes, and a hundred other things. 
Many times this section's alertness while watching an enemy 
move, proved of great advantage to our units. The}^ were 
the eyes of our organization. 


Headquarters 35th Division, 
American Expeditionary Forces. 
13th November, 1918. 
General Orders ) 

No. 98 \ 

1. The Division Coniiiiaiider takes great pleasure in pub- 
Hshing to the officers and men of this Division the effective 
and efficient work, under fire during the action of September 
2Gth-()ctober 1st, 1918, of the Medical Officers, Dental Offi- 
cers, and enlisted personnel of the Sanitary Detachments of 
tlie following organizations, and of the htter-bearers assigned 
to these organizations, from time to time : 

137th Infantry, 
138th Infantry, 
139th Infantry, 
140th Infantry, 

2. Special credit for courage and resourcefulness, under 
fire, and for the effective handling of their detachments, is 
due the following Regimental Surgeons : 

Captain Oscar Hansen, Regimental Surgeon, 137th In- 

Major Eniil Burgher, Regimental Surgeon, 138th In- 

Major Henry D. Smith, Regimental Surgeon, 139th In- 

3. The courage and efficient work of the following officers 
and enlisted men of the Medical Corps of this Division are 
peculiarly worthy of note : 

First Lieutenant Walter Kirkpatrick, M. C, U. S. A., 

137th Infantry, for continuing to work while violently ill 

from gas, repeatedly refusing to stop until forced to do so by 

the Regimental Surgeon. 


234 Appendix 

First Lieutenant Robert E. Forrester, M. C, U. S. A., 
137th Infantry, for coolly and efficiently continuing the work 
of his old station after three other medical officers had been 
wounded or gassed in that station ; and for disabling a Ger- 
man machine gun which had been left in a position to com- 
mand the retiring American lines. 

First Lieutenant Carl A. Foige, M. C, U. S. A., L37th In- 
fantry, for bravery and efficient work in heavy shell fire ; and 
at one time, when the team of litter bearers was wiped out, 
he organized a second team of litter bearei's, and led them out 
on the field amidst heavy shell fire. 

Sergeant H. Meyers, Sanitary Detachment, 137th In- 
fantry, who was wounded while going forward to administer 
aid to a fallen soldier, but continued to work until ordered 
to the rear. 

Sergeant Fiivst Class T. Quinn, Sanitary Detachment, 137th 
Infantiy, who thi'ough his enei'getic efi'orts, was most val- 
uable in the matter of locating patients on the field and hav- 
ing them littei-ed back ; also in procuring dressings and lit- 
ters and bringing them forward. 

Private Erret P. Scrivner, Dental Assistant, Sanitary De- 
tachment, 137th Infantry, for exceptional gallantry in action 
during the engagement of September 26th to October 1st, 
1918, when he was counted missing in action. Private 
Scrivner repeatedly went out under heavy shell fire and ma- 
chine gun fire in the area immediately behind the advancing 
front line and administered first aid, and assisted the men to 
the dressing stations. On the morning of October 1st, 1918, 
he did not return from a call, and has since been counted 
missing in action. 

Sergeant Harry Glahm, Sanitary Detachment, 129th Ma- 
chine Gun Battalion, for effective work under heavy shell 
fire and machine gun fire, and who continued to work through- 
out the drive until he was taken back from the field in a semi- 
conscious condition. 

Private Lester F. Strauss, Sanitary Detachment, 129th 
Machine Gun Battalion, for his excellent work under heavy 
shell and machine gun fire, and who continued to work and 

Aypendix 235 

administer to the wounded, even when an enemy plane, 
flying low over the dressing station, dropped a bonil), killing 
two men near him. 

Peter E. Traub, 
Major General, U. S. Anny, 
(Copy to all Organizations.) 

Headquarters 35th Division, 
American Expeditionary Forces. 
August 25th, 1918. 

General Orders 1 
No. 67 J 

1. The Division Commander desires to eonnnend the fol- 
lowing named enlisted men for skillful performance of un- 
usually hazardous duty in evacuating the wounded in action 
on the morning of July 20th, 1918 : 

Sergeant First-Class Theophilus J. Quinn, Sanitary De- 
tachment, 137th Infantry. 

Private Ernst A. Urhlaub, Sanitary Detachment, 137tli 

Private Claude Shultz, Company ''C," 137th Infantry. 
Private Harrison R. Kock, Company ''C," 137th Infantry. 
By command of Major-General Traub. 

E. E. Haskihl, 
Colonel, General Staff, 
Chief of Staff. 
Official : 

Wm. Ellis, 

Major, U. S. Army, 
Acting Division Adjutant. 

236 Appendix 


After the Meuse-Argonne drive General Pershing commend- 
ed the Division upon its work and its accomplishments, as 
follows : 

General Headquarters, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
December 19th, 1918. 
General Orders 
No. 232. 

It is with a great sense of gratitude for its splendid accom- 
plishments, which will live through all history, that I record 
in General Orders a tribute to the victory of the First Army 
in the Meuse-Argonne battle. 

Tested and streiigtheiKHl by the reduction of the St. Mihiel 
salient, for more than six weeks you battered against the pivot 
of the enemy line on the western front. It was a position of 
imposing natural strength, stretching on both sides of the 
Meuse River from the bitterly contested hills of Verdun to 
the almost impenetrable forest of the Argonne ; a position 
moreover fortified by four years of labor designed to render 
it impregnable ; a position held with the fullest resources 
of the enemy. That position you broke utterh^, and thereby 
hastened the collapse of the enemy's military power. 

Soldiers of all Divisions engaged under the First, Third 
and Fifth American Corps, the Second Colonial and Seven- 
teenth French Corps, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 26th, 29th, 
32nd, 33rd, "35th;' 37th, 42nd, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 
81st, 82nd, 89th, 90th and 91st American Divisions, the 
18th and 26th French Divisions, and the 10th and 15th 
French Colonial Divisions — You will long l:>e remembered 
for the stubborn persistence of 3'our progress, your penetra- 
tion, yard by yard ; through woods and ravines, your heroic 
resistance in the face of counter attacks supported b}^ power- 
ful artillery fire, your storming of obstinately defended ma- 
chine gun nests. For more than a month, from the initial 
attack of September 26th, you fought your way slowly 

Appendix 2'M 

through the ArgoiuuN (hruugh woods iiiid over hills west ol" 
the Meuse ; you slowly enlarg(Kl your hold on the Cotes de 
Meuse to the east, and then on the 1st of November, your 
attack forced the enemy into flight. Pressing his retreat, 
you cleared the entire left bank of the Meuse south of Sedan, 
and then stormed the heights on the right bank and drove 
him into the plain beyond. 

Soldiers of all army and coips troojjs engaged, to you no 
less credit is due. Your steadfast adherence to duty and your 
dogged determination in the face of all obstacles made possi- 
ble the heroic deeds cited above. 

The achievement of the First Army, which is scai'cely to 
be equaled in American history, must remain a source of 
great pride and satisfaction to the troops who participated 
in the last campaign of the wai". The American people will 
remember it as the i'(^alization of th(^ hitherto potential 
strength of the American contribution toward the cause to 
which they had sworn allegiance. There can be no greater 
reward for a soldier or for a soldier's memory. 


Headquarters 35th Division, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
14th October, 1918. 

General Orders, 
No. 82. 

1 . It is with great pride antl pleasure that I make of record, 
and publish in General Orders, my appreciation of the cour- 
age and devotion to duty of the officers and the men of the 
following units under my command during the six days' 
battle against picked troops of the enemy, from September 
26th to October 1st, 1918. 

Headquarters 35th Division. 

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 69th In- 
fantry Brigade. 

The 137th Infantry Regiment. 

The 138th Infantrv Regiment. 

238 Ajrpeii(lix 

Headquarter.^ aiitl Head(iuarlcr.s Dctacliiiiciil , 7Ulh l>ri<i- 

The 139th Infantry Regiment. 

The 140th Infantry Regiment. 

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, GOth Field 
Artillery Brigade. 

The i28th Field Artillery Regiment. 

The 129th Field Artillery Regiment. 

The 130th Field Artillery Regiment. 

The 128th Machine Gun Battalion. 

The 129th Machine Gun Battalion. 

The 130th Machine Gun Battalion. 

The 110th Regimcuit of r^iigineeis. 

The 110th Field Signal l^attalion. 

The 110th Supply Ti-ain. 

The 110th Amnmnition Train. 

The 110th Sanitary Train. 

The 110th Trench'Mortar Battery. 

Headquarters Troop 35th Division. 

Second Brigade Tank Corps. 

Provisional Squadron, Second Gavahy — Troops ^'B," 
'^D/' '^F" and ''H." 

2. The task of making a record of individual acts of cour- 
age and devotion to duty in the face of most deadly artillery 
and machine gun fire is an impossible one, for many of them 
will never be known ; no greater praise nor commendation 
to the officers and men of the units mentioned above can be 
bestowed than to say that they have performed the tasks 
set for them in a spirit and manner w'orthy of best ideals and 
traditions of the American army. You have met and de- 
feated picked divisions of the enemy ; you never failed to re- 
spond cheerfully to whatever difficult and dangerous tasks 
may have been set before you to perform. You have ac- 
complished these tasks with a fearlessness, courage and dis- 
regard of all danger and hardship which fully justifies the 
pride which those at home have in you. Vauquois, Bois de 
Rossiqnol, Ouvrage, D'Aden, Cheppy, Charpentry, Baulny, 
Bois, Mon-Treubeau, Exermont, are names that you iiiay 

Appoi'lix 230 

tiikc just |)i'i(l(' in ));issiii«>; on lo your iiMli\-(' Slnlcs ;is Imviii^- 
})('(^Ti the scenes of youi' lent of Mrnis. 

3. The si)ii'it of oui' (lend coniindes ni'e with us to in'«;-e us 
on to p;rejiter deeds in our country's noble cause. To their 
famihes and fi-iends we (^xtend our heartfelt sympathy. To 
our wounded we ho])e for a speedy and safe return to our 
ranks that they may add their g^^eat spunk and enthusiasm 
to those of their more fortunate^ brothers in arms. 

4. 1 (hrect that this General Order be read to all units of 
this command at the fii-st foi'ination at which they are as- 

Peter E. Traub, 
M<ij()r-(Tenernl U. S. Army, 

Headquarters Second Army, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
March 7, 1919. 
General Orders, } 

No. 2. \ 

1 . Upon the departui-e of the 35th Division from the Sec- 
ond Army for return to the United States, the Commandinp; 
(Jeneral of the Second Army desires to conji;ratulate the Divi- 
sion upon its services to its country in France. Organized 
and trained in the United States, it received a special train- 
ing- with the British army in France be^innin^- in June, 1918. 
In July it occupied the Gerardinere sector with the French, 
and it executed various successful raids, such as the Hillen-' 
first and the Mattle raids, upon which it was highly com- 
plimented and received decoi-ations fi-om the French with 
whom the Division was serving-. In the (Jerardinere sectoi- 
it covered and protected effectively a tremendous fi-ont. 

In September it backed up the First Ameiican Arm\' din- 
ing its operations in the St. Mihiel salient. 

\'u {]\o end of Septembei-, the Division attacked ns part of 
the First AnuN' in the i»,i'e;it X'erdun-Aiiionne hnttlc ll 

240 Appendix 

stormed and took Vaiiquois Hill and Bois der liossignol, two 
strong points of the German defensive line, and it afterwai'd 
took the formidal^le positions near Cheppy, Varennes, 
Charpentry and Baulny, and afterward Montrebeau Wood 
and Exermont. It remained in the battle five days, execut- 
ing five separate attacks and losing over six thousand offi- 
cers and men. The Commanding General of the First Army 
commended the Division for its fighting spirit. 

During this five-days battle the Division was opposed 
by some of the best Divisions of the German Army, and from 
them captured over one thousand officers and men, and large 
quantities of stores and material. Relieved in the great 
l)attle of Verdun-Argonne from the fighting line for rest, the 
Division, after two weeks breathing spell, was placed in the 
active Sommedieu sector southwest of Verdun, where for 
three weeks it harried the enemy with patrols and raids and 
deeply penetrated his lines, unsettling his morale. 

Relieved again about November 9th from the Sommedieu 
sector for rest, it went into cantonment in preparation for 
early operation against the enemy in the vicinity of Metz. 
The armistice of November 11, ended the war. 

From the armistice through a period of trying \vaiting to 
date, the Division's interest in military duty has not flagged, 
its appearance, condition and state of readiness have steadily 
improved. Upon these, the Commander in Chief of the 
American Expeditionary Force has congratulated the Divi- 
sion, and to his congratulations the Commanding General 
of the Second Army now wishes to add his congratulations 
and best wishes. 

By command of Lieutenant-General Bullard. 
Stuart Heintzelman, 

Chief of Staff. 
Official : 

Allen Smith, Jr., 
A fljiUa n t Genera I . 

Ap])en<Ux 241 


15(11 Noveiiibor, 19 IS. 

No. 100. J 

I. The Division Coiniuandor takes pleasure in citing \\\ 
General Orders the followino;-named Chaplains of this Divi- 
sion for courage and devotion to duty while under heavy 
enemy fire during the battle of SeptemlDer 26th-October 1st, 

Chaplain William E. Sullen, Second Battalion, 137th In- 
fantry, showed exceptional })ravery in assisting litter bearers 
in carrying wounded to the 139th Infantry dressing station, 
through heavy shell fire. 

Chaplain C. L. Tierman, 129tli Field Ai'tillery, worked for 
two days and nights among the wounded at the dressing 
station at Charpentry. On Octo]:)er 1st, under heavy sIk^II 
fire, he worked all day in the open with a burial squad, with 
utter disregard of his personal safety. 

Chaplain William T. Kane, 11 0th Annnunition Train, 
went forward and worked at the division dressing stations 
among the wounded without I'egard to his j^ersonal safety. 

Chaplains Evan A. Edwards and Oliver Bushwell, 140th 
Infantry, spared no efforts to care for the wounded between 
the front line and the dressing station of their regiment, 
under heavy shell fire, and without regard to personal safety. 

Chaplain William L. Hart, 140th Infantry, not only ren- 
dered spiritual aid to the wounded, Init gathered sti-aggleis 
together, and by word and example, without i-egaid foi" his 
pei'sonal safety, encouraged them to action. 

By command of Major General Traub. 

H. S. Hawkins, 
Colon cL General Staff, 

Chief of Sfajf. 

242 ApjH'nfh'x 

Headquarters 35th Division, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
October 17tli, 1918. 
(Jeneral Orders, 
No. 83. 


The Division Commander takes great pleasure in citing 
in General Orders the following-named officers and enlisted 
men for gallantry in action during the six days' battle from 
September 26th to October 1st, 1918. 

Sergeant Varlaurd Pearson, Company '^I," 137th Infan- 
try. Although wounded by machine gun fire September 30th, 
displayed excellent leadei-ship in handling his platoon, which 
he kept well organized, and succeeded in dislodging sevei'al 
machine gun nests. 

Sergeant John C. Gooch, C'ompany ''G," 137th Infantry, 
and Sergeant Irwin L. Gowger, Company *XV' 137th In- 
fantry, and ('orporal Lee A. Thogmai'tin, Company ^'C,'' 
137th Infantry. Successfully after three attempts, res- 
cued, under extremely heavy machine gun fire from both 
flanks and artillery fire from the left, a wounded comrade 
who was lying severely wounded in the open. 

Captain Clifford W. Sands, Second Cavalry. While main- 
taining liaison with the division on our right, he with five 
enlisted men, was in observation, when he received an order 
to find the location of the front line of this division, from the 
left flank of the division on our right. Leaving two men in 
observation, he, accompanied by two runners, crossed the 
entire front line under fire, sending back the last runner in 
time to avoid captui'e. Having I'cceived information that 
his observation post had been cut off from retreat, and sur- 
I'ounded by a heavy l)arrage and sniper fire, although he 
had passed through the barrage several times without cover 
and in plain sight of the enemy to get information required, 
and, exhausted from inhaling gas, he recrossed the front of 
oui" line under tii'e nnd gas attack, found his men, nnd guide(l 

A ppendix 243 

lliciii aiul lh(>ir horses tIii-oiigli (he barlx'd wire, and by a 
circuitous I'oute to safety in the dark. 

By connnand of Major-(}eneral Traul:*. 
Official : H. S. HawkixXs, 

Wm. Ellis, Chief of Sfalf. 

Lt.-Col. Inf., U. S. Army. 

Headquarters 35th Division, 
American Expeditionary Forces, 
December 21, 1918. 

(Jeneral Orders, 
No. 109. 

The following-named officers, no longer members of the 
division, have been awarded the Croix de Guerre with star 
and citation in divisional orders by the Commander-in- 
Chief of the French Armies of the North and Northeast : 
Captain Emil Rolf, 137th Infantry. 
Captain Roy W. Perkins, 137th Infantry. 

By command of Major-General Traub. 
Official : H. S. Hawkins, 

W. R. Thurston, Chief of Staff. 

Major, A.G.D., U. S. Armi/, 
Acting Division Adjutant. 


\ ppcN'h'x 


r' entered the service as a private in the Twentieth 
Kansas Vohniteers, and later saw much service with the 
Kansas National Guards. He passed through all the stages 
of soldiering from private to colonel. June 16th, 1916, en- 
tered the Federal service and was assigned as Brigade Ad- 
jutant on the borde]-. During the 35th's habitat at Doni- 
phan, served as Adjutant of the 70th Brigade. April, 1917, 
was summoned to Washington in connection with general 
courts martial. Returning to Division as Colonel, he was 
placed in connnand of the 137th Infantry April 22nd w4iile 
regiment was in Camp Mills awaiting sailing orders. Re- 
mained in command until fourth day of the Argonne drive, 
when on September 29th he was evacuated to a hospital. 
Colonel Hamilton's motto read, '^Military courtesy and in- 
dividual efficiencv." 




Colonel Rowan, the seventh (\jlonel conunandin*;- t\w 
VMih, though he did not comniand rej>;inient until we were 
homeward bound, was connected in an official capacity with 
the Division. He is a Kansas man and a Kansas soldier, 
and therefore, when he was assigned to command our w^i- 
nient during our hist few days in France, we felt "All's 
well," for though we had d\n-ing the vicissitudes of oui- mili- 
taiy career suffered many changes and shakeui)s, we lived 
in the knowledge that of the other commanders we claimed, 
none, not one, could take the place of our Kansas leaders. 
Colonel Rowan's miUtary history dates back to 1896, when 
he enlisted in Company ''K," Second Infantry. During the 
coiuse of his military career he advanced from Private to 
Captahi, Majoi-, Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel, which rank 
he held last. He is an "honor graduate" of the service 
school, and a close stutlent of military tactics. In his own 
word at the moment of our departure from Fiance, "I deem 
it an honoj- to lend this bunch of fighting Kansans on then- 
triumphant homeward joui'ne}'. 





Kiilisted at the age of eighteen m Company "C," Second 
Kansas Infantry, May 4, 1898. Served as Quartermaster 
Sei'geant in 21st Kansas Volunteers. Later made Sergeant- 
Major. Organized Company '^H" in Winfield, Kansas, 
March 26, 1906. Later served as Captain, Major of Second 
Battahon, Second Infantry, on l:)ordei-. Into Federal serv- 
ice and assigned to School of Musketry at Fort Sill Ma}^ 28, 
1917. Later placed in command of First Battalion, 137th 
Infantry. During Argonne offensive, commanded regiment 
during the absence of Colonel Hamilton, who had been evac- 
uated. Pe]"formed his duties with unusual gallantry and 
efficiencv. His heart was with and for the men at all times. 




Enlisted June, 1901, as private in Company ''A" Second 
Kansas Infantry. Served as Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain. 
After being mustered out and again enlisting during the time 
of mobilization for the late war, he entered the ranks as a 
private, but two days later was commissioned a First Lieu- 
tenant. Later served as Regimental Adjutant, and while 
over in France was promoted to rank of Major and placed 
in command of the Third Battalion. He was a member of 
our "Big Three," acting as one of the ''Ruling Elders" in 
that organization. Popular and deserving. 



Enlisted in Nebraska National Guards in 189G. Into 
Federal Service Second Nebraska Volunteers 1898. During 
Spanish-American war served as a non-commissioned officer 
with that regiment. Transferred to Kansas National Guards 
and served as Captain of Company ''D." While over in 
Alsace, was made Regimental Adjutant. Due to courageous 
and efficient duty during the Argonne drive was soon made 
Major and placed in conunand of the Second Battalion. A 
good soldier, who stood for the rank and file. Popular and 
well liked bv all the men, 

.4 pppnfJix 



MustercMl in with original (^ompaiiy ^^H" and served as 
Serg;eant. Later made Lieutenant. August, 1915, pro- 
moted to Captain. Recruited Company "H," and placed 
in command of this unit at Doniphan. March, 1918, took 
command of Second Battahon, and remained in command 
until he fell wounded in the Argonne forest. After recover- 
ing from wounds, rejoined regiment and took u\i duties as 
Operations Officer. Soon after, given the I'ank of Major 
and assigned to connnand the First Battalion. Kind l)ut 
fii'iH in resolve, never lacking in eonsiilcM-ation. 







From the organization of the 137th up until th(^ time w(^ 
wore mustered out of service, many and varied vicissitudes 
were experienced. A continual change was going on. Aside 
from Lieutenant-Colonels O'Connor and Tucker, who were 
placed in command of the regiment at stated times, the fol- 
lowing is the roster of regimental commanders: Colonels 
Hoisington, McMasters, Hamilton, Sammons, Reeves, Shute 
and Rowan. Among these we claimed three Kansas men, 
namely. Colonels Hoisington, Hamilton and Rowan, the 
lattei- placed in command as we were ready to sail for home. 


Reference must he made to Colonels Fitzpatrick and Fred 
L. Lemmon for their contribution in the organization and 
perfection of the regiment at the time of consolidation. The 
work of General Metcalf, who was then Colonel command- 
ing of the old First Kansas, calls for due praise and com- 
mendation. To these and others mentioned in this work, 
we would acclaim, ''They were ukmi, soldiers and citizens!" 


Colonel Clad Hamilton, C. O. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Tucker. 
Captain T. E. Bonney, Adjutant. 
Captain Scott McKenzie, Operations Officer. 
First Lieutenant E. A. Dorsey, Intelli^-ence Officer. 
First Lieutenant Thomas E. Laney, Liaison Officei*. 
First Lieutenant A. L. Theiss, Gas Officer. 
Captain O. A. Hansen, Regimental Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant W. W. Harrel, Dental Suij^eon. 
Captain Fred E. Ellis, Munitions Officei-. 

First Battalion. 
Major John H. O'Connor. 
First Lieutenant Geo. M. Black, Adjutant. 
First Lieutenant E. J. Bowen, Intelligence Officer. 
First Lieutenant J. M. Nixon, Liaison Officer. 
First Lieutenant Willie M. Nore, Scout Officer. 
First Lieutenant H. C. Fobes, Gas Officer. 
First Lieutenant A. P. Robertson, Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant Carl A. Fiege, Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant William E. Sullins, Chaplain. 

Second Battalion. 
Captain Fred E. Vaughn. 

First Lieutenant Geo. A. Verchere, Acting Adjutant. 
First Tjieutenant Al))ert S. Bigelow, Intelligence Officer 

Appendix ^''^3 

Kirst Liciitcnaul John V. Dmicon, Liaison Officer. 
First Lieutenant Clifford Byerly, Scout Officer. 
Second Lieutenant James W. McNeil, Oas Office^-. 
First Lieutenant Sanuiel G. Boyce, Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant Robert Forrester, Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant Richard C. Hatch, Chaplain. 

Third BaWdion. 
Major Joseph J. Koch. 
First Lieutenant Verne Wilson, Adjutant. 
First Lieutenant Clyde Keller, Intelligence and Seoul Of- 
First Lieutenant Augustus V. Goesling, Liaison ( Xlicci-. 
First Lieutenant Emil G. Keil, Gas Officer. 
First Lieutenant Bernard Shelton, Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant Walter H. Kirkpati-ick, Surgeon. 
First Lieutenant Howard S. I^ox, Chaplain. 

Ccnnpany "yl." 

Captain Ai'chie K. Rupert. 
Second Lieutenant Samuel Krinsky. 
Second Lieutenant Charles B. Allen. 
Second Lieutenant Howard O. Bauton. 

Company " B.'' 

Captain John A. Ashworth. 
L'irst Lieutenant Leon C. Bradley. 
First Lieutenant Guy E. Vining. 
First Lieut(»nant l^ R. Hodgson. 

Company 'T." 

Captain Ward P. Holly. 

First Lieutenant Fred N. Belgcr. 

Second Lieulenani Wilhinn 1). llilhs. 

254 Appendix 

('(nnpanij "/.)." 
First Lieutenant Verne 0. Bi-eese. 
First Lieutenant Leonard C. Boyd. 
Second Lieutenant Charles R. Gesner. 
Second Lieutenant Rulif T. Martin. 

Company '' E." 
Captain Ben S. Hudson. 
First Lieutenant Robert S. Boyd. 
Second Lieutenant Evan L. Davis. 

Company '^/^." 
Captain Emil Rolfe. 
First Lieutenant John C. Hughes. 

Company "(7." 
Captain Clarence H. Quigley. 
First Lieutenant Carl E. Burgess. 
Second Lieutenant Robert W. Tharp. 
Second Lieutenant Chai-les H. Fai'i'is. 

Company '"J J.'' 
First Lieutenant Harvey R. Rankin. 
Second Lieutenant Frank T. McQueen. 

Company "7." 
Captain Harry F. Grove. 
Captain Peai'l C. Ricard. 

Company "/\." 
Captain Miles E. Canty. 
First Lieutenant Leslie M. Boatman. 
First Lieutenant Frank T. Weaver. 
Second Tiieutenant ?Tan'v M. Ball. 

Appendix 255 

First Lieutenant Arthur J. l^^ricson. 
First Lieutenant Charles F. Young. 
Second Lieutenant llol)ert M. Hughes. 

Company "M.'' 
Captain Delbert H. Wilson. 
First Lieutenant Willard J. Shipe. 

Machine Gun Company. 
First Lieutenant Hawley H. Braucher. 
Second Lieutenant Wilbur F. Mating. 
Second Lieutenant William H. Kane. 

Headquarters Company. 
Captain Fred E. Ellis. 
First Lieutenant Harry B. Dorst. 
Second Lieutenant Thomas Moore. 
Second Lieutenant James McJimsey. 

Supply Company. 
Captain Frank E. Barr, Supply Officer. 
First Lieutenant Paul J. Simpson, Transport Officer. 
First Lieutenant F. B. Ewing. 
First Lieutenant Ray M. McClaren. 
First Lieutenant Alfred B. Cushing. 



c. !■; iiATi-nurs 

The dawn has broken, increased, then Jaded, 
The shades of eventide are here; 
We lay aside the pen arid parchment, 
Our "guerre est fini," thus we hear. 

May the symbols here portrayed 
Give us memories of those days 
We, as comrades in a cause. 
Received triumph with our loss. 

In honored memory of those departed. 
We give acknowledgment well cohorted. 
Our "gitcrrc est fini," we arc told — 
Our figure's stooped— we have grouui old. 


020 915 410 9 


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